Event Report: The Unspoken Side of the Migration Crisis in the EU

On August 8th, 2018, the World Solidarity Forum hosted the event of the Unspoken Side of the Migration Crisis in the EU. The event covered mainly the internal dimension of the Migration Crisis and shed light on the struggles faced by refugees in European soil. The event consisted on the participation of three speakers from different organizations based in Europe.

First, Marta Welander represented Refugee Rights Europe and opened the discussion with an overview of the situation in Europe. She explained different cases of great importance; such as detrimental living conditions in Greek islands settlements and at the Calais camp, human trafficking and the disappearances of thousands of children. The cases were backed by statements from refugees who witnessed or experienced the situation themselves. In the same way, the cases presented by Welander were coming from research conducted by Refugee Rights Europe.

Roxane Roth represented Women Refugee Route at the event. Roth presented and voiced the main struggles that women must face as refugees. Sexual violence, sexual harassment and lack of basic sanitary and medical support top the list. The intervention clearly led the audience to understand that women are targets of abuse and violence.

Finally, Juliana Whalgren represented the European Network Against Racism. She presented the latest findings of the ENAR. These included patterns of violence and discrimination across Europe, such as an increase in attacks against refugees in the UK post-Brexit referendum. Also, a correlation was found between political affiliation to far-right groups and discrimination against refugees. In overall, the role of the society in the current situation is crucial to make or break integration policies.

The takeaways from the event were clear. It is necessary to take a series of steps from the EU to the individual level: it is imperative to diffuse information; to make sure that refugees know their rights; to demand improvements in the functioning and conditions at the control centers; to support refugees as a society; and to advocate for this cause.

The EU certainly has one of the best plans for migration in comparison to other models across the world. However, the actions remain to be implemented efficiently and a more useful framework must be planned to address every different group of refugees according to their own needs. It is a collective work that should not be left only for policy makers and politicians to be done. Instead, the entire society must be aware, involved and constantly taking action to make it work.

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