Segundo Tribunal de Mujeres Migrantes y Refugiadas
INTERESTS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE TRIBUNAL
In the Month International of the Woman all we must be present. It is because of this that migrant and refugee women in Argentina once again are seeking to join together with activities during this month to be carried out in other parts of the World, by raising our voices as women in order to bring visibility to our concerns.
In the case of those of us who are migrants, it is the conditions of poverty in our countries of origin which have compelled us to migrate. Many women throughout the world have had to leave our families behind in order to do whatever was necessary to save them from going hungry. We leave our homes in search of better opportunities. Meanwhile those of us who are refugees flee from persecution and repression by authoritarian political regimes. But we discover once we arrive at our new destinations that is not easy to obtain legal recognition as refugees.
During the First Tribunal of Migrant and Refugee Women in Argentina, which took place on March 28, 2006, we presented testimonies regarding our concerns as to current patterns in migration and refugee policy, the difficulties we have faced, the very visible effects of undocumented status, and as to somewhat less visible obstacles such as inhuman working conditions produced by employers who take advantage of our vulnerabilities, mistreat us physically and emotionally, and threaten to denounce us to the authorities. Today we celebrate some key advances in our struggle which include: The National “Patria Grande”(“Larger Homeland”) Legalization Program, the approval of a new Refugee Law, and the ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Another accomplishment for all of us as women which we contributed to is the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Protocol).
It is within this context that we want to convene the Second Tribunal of Migrant and Refugee Women in Argentina, in order to continue to raise our voices and shed light on many situations affecting our rights that continue to be hidden, and making visible the harsh challenges that we continue to confront on a daily basis, which include key priorities such as the fact that as women we continue to be systematically victimized by trafficking, by the exploitation of smugglers and employers, and by patterns of sexual abuse. In addition in our homes we are often the victims of violence inflicted by our partners, and often lack access to family networks that might help protect us.
Additional challenges we confront include the fact that even if we succeed in legalizing our status we still face multiple barriers in order to succeed in getting the authorities to recognize and respond to our demands. Our access to the legal system is virtually non-existent, and as a result many of the violations of our rights are not pursued or are investigated and punished selectively, which results in impunity. All of this is exacerbated by the fact that many of the consular officials from our countries of origin are deaf to our concerns, and fail to respond to our demands.
These are just some of the difficulties that we face as migrant and refugee women when we leave our homelands and cross borders leading to uncertainty.
Our principal objective for this Second Tribunal is to join together all of our voices in shared strength and vision in order to insure that all of us are heard, taken into account, and respected.
In light of all of the above, this Tribunal has the following additional objectives:
1. To publicly denounce all cases of work-related and domestic violence that we have encountered as migrant and refugee women, in order to contribute to breaking the cycle which renders such violence routine;.
2. To contribute to ending the broader cycles of violence which characterize our society and to denounce the large number of deaths produced by this environment and the impunity which has characterized the investigation and punishment of such cases.
3. To publicly denounce all relevant cases of violations of economic, social, and cultural rights affecting migrants and refugees in Argentina, as well as the gender violence that characterizes such cases, in order to make visible the discrimination and exclusion which affects thousands of women and promote full respect for their rights here and throughout the world;
4. To present the perspectives of national and international specialists regarding the vulnerable situation of migrant and refugee women in Argentina and the World. Specific topics to be addressed include issues of educational, labour, and human rights in general.
The Tribunal consisting of legal experts will determine the extent of responsibility attributable to countries of origin, transit, and destination as to the creation of the conditions necessary for the respect, realization, and enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights in the daily lives of migrant and refugee women.
The Tribunal will issue a sentence regarding cases involving human rights violations committed against migrant and refugee women. This symbolic statement will seek to contribute to creating a greater consciousness and atmosphere of reflection regarding the human rights of migrant and refugee women and their contemporary realities.
In conclusion our goal is to generate greater attention and awareness among the general public and within the governing structures of both sending and receiving countries, regarding the need to improve the living conditions and frameworks of rights of women who are migrants and refugees.