Burcu Karakaş reports on the everyday challanges for Syrian refugee women in Turkey: “Violence, exploitation, marginalisation: these are the challenges of a difficult everyday life for many Syrian refugee women in Turkey”
Rima, whose name has been changed for security reasons, is a young Syrian woman. Until five years ago, she was living in Syria with her family. One day, a bomb dropped on their house, killing her husband and three brothers. After this unexpected tragedy, Rima, mother of three, left her hometown for Turkey. In November 2013, she started a new life with her kids in a refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Sanliurfa, one of the oldest Syrian refugee camps in Turkey. Continue reading The fragility of Syrian refugee women in Turkey→
Due to the reopening of the case of Festus Okey last week, Pelin Çakir summarizes and comments on the murder and its contexts for HarekAct
by Pelin Çakır
Festus Okey, was born in 1975, in the Abia state of Nigeria, one of eleven children born to a farming couple. His brother Tochukwu migrated to South Africa to support his family in their poverty, but told Festus that conditions were very bad there, leading Festus to come to Istanbul instead in 2005. He worked in temporary jobs and played football with amateur teams in the so-called African league of Istanbul, a league which gives hope to many African young men to be discovered by the agents of professional football teams and therefore become a reputed player. His friends were calling him Okute. By coincidence, he appeared in an independent documentary which reported on the league, firstly recorded while running in the field, then unexpectedly during his funeral (how his murder was initially acknowledged by the press).
It wasn’t easy to escape the police’s ‘attention’ as a black man in Istanbul. The first time he was arrested by police for being undocumented, and kept for several months in Kumkapı detention center until he managed to file an asylum application to the UNHCR. On the early evening of 20 August 2007, Festus Okey and his friend Mamina Oga were stopped by an undercover police officer in the central Beyoğlu area of Istanbul. The police officer later described how they were apprehended with the following words “black persons and citizens from the East draw more attention with respect to narcotics”. Continue reading Festus Okey: a long road to justice→
Migrant kids born in Turkey is a crucial and growing topic. 385,431 babies born to Syrian parents in Turkey between April 2011 and November 2018, according to official statistics. As mentioned in the report below many problems and risks emerge in this area: such as the the discriminative treatment migrant mothers face that may turn violent and traumatic during the labour, not having access to public hospitals (being refused, or being charged high prices) and therefore having to give birth in improper conditions, having difficulties to register the kids, and to receive health-care, education and other social services later on.
ISTANBUL, Turkey – Sham’s start in life was not easy.
“I was in labour. I was in pain, lying in the hospital bed, but the midwives did not help me,” recalls her mother Kawthar Muhammet, a Syrian now living in Turkey who uses the Turkish spelling of her last name, Mohammed. “They said to me, ‘You’re fleeing war and having sex?’ They called me names that I don’t want to repeat. They abandoned me.
We have previously posted about Derya, the Irani asylum-seeker who was protesting for more than a month in front of UNHCR on the claim that she has no life security in Turkey because of the life threats she has been receiving from her brother. Reports arrived a couple of days ago that non she has been missing.
A woman supporter who went to visit Derya in front of the UNHCR building could not find her and asked to the security guard, the guard responded that ‘someone took her’. The lawyers who support Derya could not find any information through UNHCR, DGMM or police stations. We are looking forward to find out where Derya is, we are urging the authorities to take an action to find her, particularly on this significant day, 25th of November, the international day for the elimination of the violence against woman.
Derya, a woman asylum-seeker from Iran and a survivor of SGBV has been demonstrating in front of UNHCR Ankara office since one month now. UNHCR has already left the authority of refugee status determination totally to Directorate General of Migration Management on September. However, many refugees like Derya has filed their asylum applications earlier to UNHCR and expecting to receive attention and possibly a positive answer of resettlement to a third country from the international institution. Derya’s resistance has been brought to public attention in Turkey through some news covers and solidarity attempts of feminist groups. Here we put together Derya’s story through the humanitarian lawyers and her own account.
Accoding to Dicle Var from Evrensel News, Derya’s request for resettlement is neglected by UNHCR although she has fled from her family’s violence in Iran, and is claiming to not have life security in Turkey as well. As her sit-in protest in front of UNHCR has been brought to media, lawyers from Refugee Rights Center of Ankara Bar Association and International Women Solidarity Association (UKDD) took action for her. However the lawyers were let neither in the UNHCR building, nor to negotiate with the authorities, they were instead referred to Human Resource Development Foundtion (IKGV, a local implementing partner of UNHCR). The officers from IKGV confirmed that they are following Derya’s case, and added that she has psychological problems and she has to stay in Turkey and do the things that are necessary to adapt to normal life. The lawyer Çelik (from UKDD) condemned the attitude of the IKGV and pointed that such institutions do not have a women’s rights based approach towards women refugees, therefore she will keep on supporting Derya’s struggle and bring it to agenda in different platforms. Continue reading Through a 30-day of struggle, Derya keeps asking for resettlement from UNHCR→
Via The New Arab – Freelance journalist Matt Broomfield describes the situation of LGBTIQ refugees on Lesvos Island. Hundreds of queer refugees who came to Europe to live a free life now face the same discrimination as they did in their home countries: by police, the asylum service and other migrants forced to live behind barbed wire.
Via The New Arab – From the gay Iraqi who saw Isis militants throw his lover from the tallest building in Mosul to the couple who escaped persecution to rendezvous for the first time in a refugee camp, each of the LGBTQI+ refugees trapped on the Greek island of Lesvos could fill a book with their own personal stories.
Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) launched the 2018 baseline evaluation report on legislative and other measures giving effect to the provisions of theIstanbul Convention (Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) for Turkey.
The report overall emphasizes that the prevailing context in Turkey with the draining of resources in civil service sector and increasing anti-terror measures following the failed coup attempt is rather unpropitious for the fulfillment of women’s right to live free from violence; and therefore the many legislative and other gains achieved hitherto at the cause against violence against women in Turkey, may risk regressing.
The report also has a particular section on Migration and Asylum, in which the issues of “family residence permit”, “gender-based asylum claims” and the principle of “non-refoulment” were elaborated on. Thereby, the group of experts call on the Turkish authorities to take necessary measures to provide better protection to women victims of violence regardless of their status of residence, and to develop gender-sensitive procedures, guidelines and services which allow all women to have access to registration and protection mechanisms.
For the full-text of GREVIO’s baseline evaluation report on Turkey, please refer to this link.
Via The Guardian – Two women and a girl believed to be migrants have been found dead with their throats slashed near Greece’s north-eastern border with Turkey, Greek authorities said.
The victims appeared to be of North African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin, but their nationalities and identities were unknown, police said. An initial examination of the bodies suggested the three were killed about four days earlier, coroner Pavlos Pavlidis said on Wednesday.
Riot police crack down on an L.G.B.T. rally in Istanbul, in 2016. Under the provisions of the country’s state of emergency, protest is effectively banned. Photograph by Ozan Kose / AFP / Getty
Via The New Yorker – When you are a refugee, you learn all about the hierarchy of compassion. There are the people from war-torn countries—refugees from humanitarian catastrophes so enormous that they upend the world’s imagination, such as those who have escaped from Syria. There are people who have fled a sudden campaign of violence and hatred, such as the gay men who have been escaping from Chechnya for the past year. And then there is you: unlucky enough to have suffered the kind of misfortune that can’t seem to hold onto a headline. From the officers of U.N.H.C.R.—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the agency that runs refugee-resettlement operations around the world—what you hear is this: “There is no country for you.” Continue reading The L.G.B.T. Refugees in Turkey Who Refuse to Be Forgotten→
Deutsche Welle in Turkish reports about the issue of forced and second marriage of Syrian women in Turkey, a phenomenon which started to be widespread in Turkey. A website called “Syrian Women” is giving advice to Turkish men on how to find and marry Syrian women.
“Syrian women wanting to marry – what are Syrian women like? – how are Syrian women dressed?” The website is full of sexist stereotypes of women, who had to migrate from Syria Turkey:
“Syrian women are delicate beings like our women. The number of young men who want to get married to Syrian women has increased and the desire of married men who want to be with Syrian women has increased as well. Since Syrian women do not set official marriage conditions, men can start living with them”.