The crucial importance of integrating a gender inclusive and human rights-based approach in border security and management in times of crises, especially when dealing with refugees at the borders, was the focus of webinar organized by the Border Security and Management Unit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Transnational Threats Department on May 25.
The webinar brought together 50 representatives from border and customs agencies of 17 countries.
“Gender equality is a priority for the OSCE. In times of conflicts and war, women, girls and boys are at a particularly high risk of being exploited and trafficked. Therefore a gender-inclusive approach is crucial in border security and management,” said Lara Scarpitta, OSCE Senior Adviser on Gender Issues, in her opening remarks.
Together with the experts from the International Organization for Migration and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, participants have looked at the connection between gender-inclusive and human rights based border security, and effectively managed borders, in line with the OSCE’s comprehensive approach. They have also explored human rights sensitive and refugee-centered strategies when dealing with sudden and often high numbers of refugees at the borders.
During a practical exercise, conducted by an international expert, participants learned how to avoid unconscious biases, discrimination towards refugees, and how to recognize potential victims of human trafficking at borders.
According to the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, estimates suggest that less than one percent of victims of human trafficking are ever identified. This leaves millions of victims without the support they need to recover and without opportunity to seek legal justice.