Members of the European Parliament who sit on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality voted in favour of a resolution condemning the use of sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war.
MEPs expressed their deep concern about the growing number of reports of women and children fleeing Ukraine becoming victims of human trafficking, sexual violence, exploitation, rape and abuse.
In the resolution, MEPs highlighted, in particular, the needs for the women and girls’ specific needs to be properly addressed in refugee reception centres and that complaint mechanisms should be made immediately available to them in languages and formats acceptable to all.
There should also be swift identification and prosecution by member states and the EU of trafficking networks profiting from the sexual exploitation of women refugees.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights are also key points mentioned in the resolution. MEPs called on the EU and all host and transit countries to ensure that access to sexual health services including contraception, emergency contraception, abortion care (especially for rape victims) and obstetric care.
The Committee called on the EU to use all the measures and funds at its disposal to respond to the sexual and reproductive health needs of women still in Ukraine by sending dignity health kits, contraceptives and sexual health kits in humanitarian packages and convoys to Ukraine and to host countries.
The Committee urged EU member states to provide safe and coordinated transport between member states to protect women and children from becoming victims of human trafficking.
To facilitate the integration of women refugees into the host countries, MEPs noted that they should be granted access to the labour market, as well as have access to childcare and language courses.
According to the UNHCR, more than 4 million people have left the country since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February, most of them heading to neighbouring countries, and more than 6.5 million people have been internally displaced.
If you wish to help Ukraine from Malta, but don’t know how, check out these Maltese organisations that are collecting funds and supplies to send to Ukraine. Alternatively, you can donate directly to some of these foreign organisations, as well as find a list of different things you could do on this webpage.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
What do you think of the resolution?