Asylum rights: recognition of sexual violence is a matter of urgency

Sexual violence on migrant routes has become commonplace in ways that are hard to imagine. Yet they are still not considered fair grounds for obtaining asylum.

Women and men today are subjected to sexual violence during the course of their migration, particularly the former, for whom it is almost systematic on specific migratory routes. Theoretically, this violence is taken into account when considering an asylum application with an adapted procedure. However, they are hardly ever taken into account in decisions to grant status. In addition to the trauma, the sexual violence suffered may, in the event of a return, endanger these women or have a negative impact on their integration into their community of origin. Should the violence suffered along the way be taken into account as relevant criteria for asylum? The documentary The Last Shelter deals sensitively with this issue by accompanying migrants on their way to North Africa or Europe or on their way back.


Tuesday 8 March


Espace Pitoëff - Théâtre

Followed by the debate Asylum rights: recognition of sexual violence is a matter of urgency.


Co-presented with Doctors without Borders (MSF) and Caritas Switzerland


Margaux Tharin Country Director, Caritas Switzerland in Mali


Liselotte Barzé Head of the Gender issues at the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)

Nelly Staderini Medical Manager of the Women's and Children's Health Unit and coordinator for sexual and reproductive health and sexual violence, Doctors without Borders (MSF)

Sofia Amazzough Responsible for legal protection in the Federal Centers for asylum seekers in French-speaking Switzerland, Caritas Switzerland

Sonia Krimi French Parliamentarian, Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Committee of Enquiry on Migration

Leila Bodeux Asylum and Migration Advocacy Officer, Caritas Europa

Moderated by

Catherine Wihtol De Wenden Director of research emeritus at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), specialist in international migration

To go further

“Violence sexuelle et migration : La réalité cachée des femmes subsahariennes arrêtées au Maroc sur la route de l’Europe“ dans MSF, mars 2010.

This debat is preceded by the movie:

Compétition - Documentaire de créationFilms en VOD

The Last Shelter

By Ousmane Zoromé Samassekou

In Gao, Mali, the Maison du Migrant offers a refuge to those attempting to reach Europe... or on their way back, with only their broken dreams as luggage. Intimate stories intertwine, from the meeting of two teenage girls and a woman with no memory. Malian filmmaker Ousmane Zoromé Samassékou has created a vibrant piece of cinematic poetry about exile and its ghosts, which has won numerous international awards.

Co-presented with ARTE

If you want to get involved and support the protagonists of the film:

  • Section Compétition - Documentaire de création & Films en VOD
  • Original language(s) French & English
  • Subtitle(s) French & English


Ousmane Zoromé Samassekou

World sales



  • Les films du balibari
  • DS productions
  • ARTE


  • Ousmane Zoromé Samassekou


  • Pierre Daven Keller


  • Adama Diarra, Jean-Marc Schick


  • Céline Ducreux
Production country
France, Mali & South Africa
Swiss Premiere