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Training the next generation of internationalist Journey of Hazard and Hope Risks and Coping Training the next generation of internationalist Journey of Hazard and Hope Risks and Coping Strategies of Syrian Women Seeking Asylum in Austria IOM I Anna Dimitrova Mariia Kostetckaia

Outline of the presentation § § § Motivation Research question Methodology Findings Recommendations Slide Outline of the presentation § § § Motivation Research question Methodology Findings Recommendations Slide 2

Motivation I • Nearly 5. 5 million registered Syrian refugees worldwide. • Almost 1 Motivation I • Nearly 5. 5 million registered Syrian refugees worldwide. • Almost 1 million Syrian asylum applications in Europe starting from 2011. • More than 40, 000 recognised Syrian refugees in Austria, around 40% of which are women. Germany Sweden Hungary Austria Netherlands Others Top countries of destination in Europe Slide 3

Motivation II Vulnerabilities of Syrian women seeking asylum: • • • General risks of Motivation II Vulnerabilities of Syrian women seeking asylum: • • • General risks of fleeing from conflict zones Exposure to gender-based violence Structural inequalities Call by international organisation (UNHCR, Council of Europe, Amnesty International etc. ) for urgent actions to be taken for the protection of female refugees. Slide 4

Research Question What risks do Syrian women face during their forced migration to Europe Research Question What risks do Syrian women face during their forced migration to Europe and which strategies do they use to reduce these risks? Stages of migration: • Home country • Journey • Destination Slide 5

Methodology § § Literature review and data analysis Semi-structured interviews . . . Slide Methodology § § Literature review and data analysis Semi-structured interviews . . . Slide 6

Findings I Women are exposed to higher risks than men during all three stages Findings I Women are exposed to higher risks than men during all three stages of migration. Journey Syria Bombed house Trauma and loss Forced marriage Sexual assault Domestic violence Austria Violence in reception centre Insensitive treatment Slide 7

Findings II In Syria: risk of violence and psychological trauma • Risk of sexual Findings II In Syria: risk of violence and psychological trauma • Risk of sexual violence in the conflict zones, especially for female headed households. „We stayed in a crossfire of several regimes for three years. My daughter was hiding whenever the military people entered the house as she was afraid of being sexually abused. “ • Trauma from loss of family members, friends, and property. „I interrupted my studies in the University of Damascus after a close friend was killed by a bomb. “ Slide 8

Findings III During the journey safety is a majour issue • Lack of safe Findings III During the journey safety is a majour issue • Lack of safe legal route to Europe. • Lack of safety in refugee camps, e. g. no gender separtaed facilities, and risk of sexual harassment. „I felt safer sleeping on the street than in a refugee camp in Greece. “ • Violence from authorities. „I was raped by a policeman in Lebanon. “ • Limited access to reproductive and health care. Slide 9

Findings IV In Austria: limited support for vulnerable women • Inadequate facilities for women Findings IV In Austria: limited support for vulnerable women • Inadequate facilities for women with special needs. „I was provided with an old wheel-chair, which I fell from and broke my leg. “ • Lack of psychological support. • Lack of training for authorities in dealing with women in vulnerable position. „In the reception centre, I was put in a room with a man. He threatened to assault me. When I complained to a police officer, he only replied: Why are you crying, you are so beautiful? “ Slide 10

Findings V Coping Strategies: • Marriage • Family reunification • Travelling in a group Findings V Coping Strategies: • Marriage • Family reunification • Travelling in a group of family and/or friends • Avoiding sleeping in gender mixed facilities in camps • Taking off headscarves once in Europe • Relying on networks and connections Slide 11

Findings VI Women become victims of individual perpetrators but also of structural violence and Findings VI Women become victims of individual perpetrators but also of structural violence and inequalities Slide 12

Recommendations General recommendations: • Create safe routes and/or allow asylum applications to be filed Recommendations General recommendations: • Create safe routes and/or allow asylum applications to be filed from abroad. • States should be encouraged to apply 1951 Refugee Convention in a gender-sensitive way. In refugee camps and reception centres: • Provide special training to police officers and staff members working with refugees. • Provide information regarding the legal rights of women and encourage the reporting of gender-based violence. Slide 13

Recommendations • Employ more female staff. • Provide gender-separated facilities. Where possible, separate shelters Recommendations • Employ more female staff. • Provide gender-separated facilities. Where possible, separate shelters for refugee women should be available. • Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health-care facilities. In Austria: • Provide more psychological support, especially to women victims of violence. • Provide additional support, in particular regarding job search, housing, education and integration. • Create safe environment for refugee women in order to empower them and help them integrate faster in society. Slide 14

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