HIAS Reveals Results of Gender-Based Violence Survey and News about an employment portal

In a recent press conference hosted by HIAS Aruba it presented the findings of a research conducted last year on the topic of Gender-Based Violence against Refugee and Migrant Women in Aruba. In addition to research presentation, the event provided a unique opportunity for attendees to engage in a thought-provoking discussion with experts and advocates in the field of gender-based violence.

The invitation was extended by HIAS Aruba to the local press/media, and the conference nicely attended.

The data presented was collected from 6 local institutions, such as FCVR, Fundacion Contra Violencia Relacional, UNHCR, The United Nations High commissionaire for Refugees, HIAS, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, an international  nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees, as well as surveys on line, in-depth interviews with survivors, and focus groups, that included transgender men and women, all designed to solicit information and perceptions.

There were five major finding to the survey, all inter-related, which were shared with the local press/media, and none of the findings were surprising.

Refugee and migrant women in Aruba are vulnerable to gender based violence because they are undocumented and that lack or proper documentation denies them access to economic resources, and health services, available to all others. It makes them more dependent on their intimate partner and often more vulnerable to violence.

In addition to having no papers, no resources and no health care, they also have no access to justice in case they want to file a complaint. A combination of fear and indifference on the part of law enforcement, often gets the predator off the hook.

Also among findings, lack of information. Women and adolescent girls under threat, are often in the dark about services available to the general public, and uninformed about their rights, they don’t know where to go, and how to secure assistance.

It is a vicious circle that starts with the local authorities, though promises to address these human rights challenges, were made, since March 2022, when the Minister of Labor and Integration, reported that a new policy has been adopted which allows the undocumented on the island to receive work permits.

But so far, nothing

The HIAS survey findings are closely related, and paint an unfortunate reality though a policy, if introduced, would help mitigate labor shortages on the island, AND alleviate the pressure on undocumented residents, who will transition from the grey economy, working and getting paid under the table, as they say, to legal, honorable work.

Recently we heard that the method to accomplish this is for an employer to apply for the work permit in the regular channels. Candidates for work permits will not be deported if their work permit is in process.

The Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association in collaboration with the above HIAS Aruba, worked to create a method for employers to gain easier access to these potential candidates, via a skills database.

In a recent follow up meeting with HIAS, the organization confirmed that they are finishing work on a portal for employers to match with candidates, based on skill requirements. They expect this portal to be finalized around June 2023. AHATA pledged to organize a session for its members, a presentation on the HIAS portal and the ways they help prepare refugees for employment.

As a matter of fact, HIAS is already offering beginners’ English courses.

Additionally, HIAS has already completed a survey of the skillset available in the group they registered, currently about 2,981 individuals that could/should be available for work.

HIAS sampled 280 individuals and the results include a breakdown of the following skills:

 

31% have cleaning skills

11% have office skills

11% have maintenance skills

10% have sales skills

5% have cooking skills

4% have server skills

3% have surveillance (security) skills.

By documenting and putting people to work Gender Base Violence will certainly be reduced since women will now have access to employment, economic resources, health care, and all that comes with it, including access to help, justice and information about their rights.

Local businesses will be sighing a sigh of relief, they have been struggling to find people to help run Aruba’s extensive tourism business, and stealing each other’s employees only goes that far.

We’ll talk again in June 2023 when the work portal opens.

https://hias.org/statements/aruba-refugee-women-higher-risk-gender-based-violence/

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May 09, 2023
Rona Coster