Tuesday, 16 October 2018: Migrant and refugee rights, freedom of movement, and universal civil rights

Today, when we talk about migration, the words “crises” and “emergency” are often used by the media and by the political representatives. As a matter of fact, this phenomenon is not exceptional in world history: in all regions of the planet, people always felt the need to move and settle down somewhere else, because of calamities, lack of resources, desire to improve their living conditions, wars, famines and other geopolitical reasons. Thus, what is “critical” is not migration itself, but the way it is handled.

This point is essential if we want to promote migrants and refugees rights and if we want to protect Freedom of Movement. By considering migration as an emergency, governments and authorities might feel entitled to adopt extreme measures, including criminalisation, detention and expulsion of migrants. Furthermore, the message tends to focus on the “threat” that migrants and refugees might represent for the community: increase in unemployment, lack of security, integration obstacles and risk of social cohesion. Instead of solidarity, empathy and support, the keywords are fear and suspicion.

One of the roles of the IVS movement is to raise awareness on specific issues, helping people change the perspective on topics like migration. Through the GHRW, we intend to give visibility both to the current challenges related to refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, and to the contributions of our networks and members in changing the current mindset, often characterised by mistrust and lack of information. In this context, grass-roots projects Raising Peace Camps on the topic of migration are a good example of commitment and social transformation: such projects allow volunteers and migrants to interact, to establish bridges and to show with concrete deeds that multiculturalism and freedom of movement are not a threat but a resource and an opportunity for social and cultural growth.

The network Alliance coordinated the publication of the GHRW contents on 16 October. Here is the opening post focused on this topic:

Workcamps on the theme of migration are a unique chance for promoting Freedom of Movement. Furthermore, they are an opportunity for personal growth and for supporting a local project. They create bridges, threads and bonds, they help break stereotypes and offer alternative narratives. The GHRW was proud to highlight the efforts of all the people involved in the implementation of Raising Peace camps on this theme, like projects organised in cooperation with centers for asylum seekers and refugees.

Raising Peace camps are not the only instruments to promote migrant and refugees rights. In 2017, CCIVS, in cooperation with YEN and Alliance, designed a long-term project aimed at the social inclusion of people with a disadvantaged background in international workcamp. Among the target, also migrants and refugees can benefit from this initiative, which was highlighted on the second day of the GHRW.

Thematic working groups within IVS networks provide a great contribution, in terms of volunteers engagement, design of initiatives and advocacy actions.

Visual contents published on the theme of migrants and refugees rights:

Through the GHRW, we invite activists and viewers interested in Human Rights to enlarge their horizons on the issue of freedom of movement, by proposing online articles. These stories are not always mentioned by mainstream media, yet they are representative of the condition of people around the world, whose rights are abused and whose voice is not heard.

On the second day of the GHRW, we published links to highlight the case of Riace, in Italy, where a new model of integration has been proposed; we invited to read an article about media and discrimination against Palestinians; we took a look into Guinea Bissau citizenship policy and heard Radio Inzamba, a voice from Kigali; we stopped in Australia, to know more about its policy on detention centers; and finally we suggested an article about illegal crossing at the US-Mexico border.


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