Based on this motto, the Support Group for Women without a Residence Permit (SVZV) has been working since 1995 on improving the position of women who, for whatever reason, live in the Netherlands without a valid residence document.
Since the 1990s, the rights of people without a residence permit in the Netherlands have declined rapidly. Women are affected in many specific areas, in particular in the areas of health, pregnancy, care for children, (sexual) violence, work and legal position. The Support Group wants to expose these abuses and at the same time assist women in increasing their possibilities.
The backgrounds of undocumented women in the Netherlands are varied. Among them rejected refugees and asylum seekers, immigrants whose resident permit has expired, victims of human trafficking, victims of domestic violence holding a dependent resident permit and stateless refugees. Some women have come to live with their parents or partner or are fleeing war, violence or natural disasters, others are looking for work. Some women have fallen victim to trafficking or have fled their partner or family due to domestic violence – and have subsequently lost their dependent residence permit. Some of the women have previously applied for asylum or are awaiting legal procedure to obtain a residence permit. Some women live alone here, others have children and / or a partner.
What these women have in common is the disadvantaged position in which they find themselves. As a result of the government’s repressive migration policy, they are excluded from almost all facilities in the Netherlands. This goes against our ideas about justice and humanitarianism. The Support Group For Undocumented Women opposes the stigmatization of people without a residence permit.
SPECIAL ROLE OF SVZV
As a group we choose to focus exclusively on supporting women (and their children) without a residence permit.
What differentiates us:
- We are independent of state and church;
- All women without a residence permit are welcome
- Horizontal organization
- Volunteers are free to determine their own input
- Run solely by volunteers
- Respect for each other (this applies mutually to volunteers and clients)
- Solidarity based on humanity
- Realize privileged position of volunteers
- Starting point is women’s own strength and supporting their self-reliance
- Influencing public and political opinion to ultimately bring about structural changes.
- Together with legalized women, contribute to the acute emergency situation and thereby improve their position.
- Strengthening opportunities for undocumented women to change the existing power relationships that place them in a subordinate position in the political, economic and social fields.
- Supporting and maintaining women’s networks and networks around the illegalized with the aim of reinforcing each other’s actions and activities.
The Support Group
The Support Group is working to strengthen the position of these women on a practical and structural level. Increasing their self-reliance is paramount here. During our weekly consultation hours we support them in arranging practical matters (housing, medical and legal matters, training opportunities), as well as offering emotional support and a listening ear. We are active in creating facilities and building networks of, and for women, and where needed, collaborate with other organizations to secure the best possible outcome.
We need help for this! The activities of the Support Group are realized by around twelve volunteers. For both direct financial support for women and our expenses (emergency provisions, information evenings, operating costs, etc.) we depend on donations from individuals and funds.