The bitter face of Europe: policies on migration
For the last few years, migration has grown exponentially in Europe due to various reasons ranging from better job opportunities and financial growth to security problems, human rights violations and climate change whose main sufferers are developing countries. Migrants arrive at the European continent craving safety and a healthy lifestyle after the traumatizing situation they had to go through in their home countries -especially war-fleeing asylum seekers arriving essentially from Syria and poverty-escaping migrants from Lebanon- yet, little did they know not only would Europeans discriminate against them in different ways but so will the legislations.
According to the European Commission, the number of migrants in the EU has reached 26 Million in 2021. If that were to be a country, it would have been the 9th most populated country in the European continent right between Poland and Romania. Although this expectedly growing number of this community, migrants’ rights are still being infringed as they suffer from various shapes of inequality and discrimination varying from racism which is rarely spoken about across the continent (especially before the BLM movement was ignited) and which the government is not fighting against, to lack of political participation and inclusion in the decision-making process. This means that those 26 Million migrants are being affected by the laws passed by those in power who barely ever consulted or engaged them in the process of its making (namely due to their inability to vote). And this, consequently, leads to perpetuating and piling up the challenges that this fragile community faces as the policies that are being designed are not suitable and are not taking into consideration their needs and wants.
Migrants are, in fact, looked upon negatively or with a belittling eye within all socioeconomic classes, making them at the low bottom of the social structure in Europe, sometimes attributing crimes to them while they have not even committed them. For instance, coincidentally, the rape rate has started escalating tremendously with the growing migration flow in Sweden (mostly asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea), leading people to think that it’s due to their social misbehavior, while statistics show it’s an inter-Swede problem and migrants are scarcely involved. Ergo, one may understand their lack of representation and the stereotypes people hold against them, in all fields.
Even worse, even when they are represented, it’s hardly ever for a good cause of inclusion of such oppressed communities rather than they are used by an organization/ association to give an impression of tolerance and diversity that in most cases is pretentious, trying to capture attention, gain stature and more funds. This has a strong effect on people, in general, because they think that migrants benefit from the laws and social activities while the truth is far behind that, they are extremely marginalized, and laws don’t protect them to the desired extent. And Voicify is here to condemn this pretence and empower migrants in the political field!
What is Voicify?
Only through participation, in one form or another, will [migrants] be enfranchised and equal.Migrant political participation: a review of policies and integration results in the OSCE region
Voicify- to provide a voice to the “voiceless”; migrants that are treated as insignificant and peripheral, that are marginalized and rarely considered as decent human beings.
Voicify- to foster the participation of YREMASUD (an acronym that stands for Young Refugees, Exiled, Migrants, Asylum Seekers, and UnDocumented, a comprehensive list of all people migrating to the old continent).
Voicify- to mobilize a new generation of YREMASUD advocates across Europe
Voicify is, in fact, a collaborative project principally managed by The Young Republic (an award-winning organization aiming at empowering young refugees and working on founding the basis of a more democratic and inclusive Europe through Research, Education and Advocacy) and Voices of Young Refugees in Europe: VYRE (an international network of refugees in Europe whose main focus is to amplify their voices, help them acquire new skills and strengthen their capacities so as to enable them to contribute to their personal and social development with intercultural learning as a base)
Through this partnership, the two refugee-led and youth-led organizations brought to the table their numerable skills and expertise (from strategic advice and communication to facilitation and capacity building etc.) in order to build an equitable and inclusive Europe, by “shifting the paradigm of the political participation of migrants creating a favorable ecosystem for potential YREMASUD political participation in response to the almost- absence of presence in the policy-making process; one of the biggest human rights violations” states the Project Manager: Adam Elsod.
Why is this project important? And what are its core values?
As part of its internal government, the EU has to consult with umbrella organizations; which represent almost every distinct entity cohabitating within European governments (French youth, Polish farmers etc…). Every time, the parliament intends to sign bills into law, those vis-à-vis are openly asked about their opinions and convictions on whether or not they agree on that draft law. Yet, when it comes to policies relating to or directly affecting migrants, there is no organization/peer that occupies that corresponding position to tell whether YREMASUD who they represent agree on that idea or not.
Thinking of the change holistically, Voicify works with self-led YREMASUD organizations throughout the EU member states, through not only training them and connecting them to decision-makers in advocacy meetings but also building a big group of European Allies to support them in their quest for a strong “voice” to be able, later on, to build an umbrella organization representing them and being powerful. And this is and most importantly will be a pivotal step in the protection of one of this minority’s rights, as the number of migrants is foreseen to remain growing more and more due to social inequalities, never-ending wars and climate change including its numerous effects on many developing countries etc. This means that this vis-à-vis should be created as soon as possible so that more people can speak out for themselves and have a strong entity to defend them.
Voicify is also calling out some dysfunctions in the system and its structure where some people are excluded and marginalized solely because they are from a certain background (refugee or undocumented etc.) along with raising awareness on how important it is to get those imparities fixed whether for YREMASUD or any other structurally unrepresented minority across Europe through giving them a voice and empowering them and incentivizing them to participate in at least making policies that will considerably affect their life.
It goes without being said that through this project, people are encouraged to critically think about the way they perceive young refugees and to consciously reflect on how they portray others; to what extent that picture falls into the mainstream and whether or not it’s empowering that group of people or destructing them.
Start today by thinking about YREMASUD differently, as young people with dignity and agency over their own lives.Because Political Participation is a Human Right
A message to young people, endeavoring to change
“No matter where one is from, or what their background is, everyone has a rich life experience with all its ups and downs and myriad different skills and capacities, that once properly used, they, who are indubitably entitled to defend a cause/ right, can easily develop more of what they need in their sometimes-long journey to attain their big objective (particularly in the more oppressive countries) and start acting and changing” explains Adam Elsod
Collaborating or making partnerships with other parties builds morale within individuals, enriches the setting of change-making, brings more ideas and sets up an innovative spirit within all team members to work harder on solving problems, should they arise, and be creative. Collective action has more weight and power than the individual one, as once tasks are divvied up among the team members, they get done faster; leading the overall project to evolve more efficiently.
It is, also substantially important to enlarge one’s sphere of knowledge to have a thorough understanding of the different forces and factors at play, on a global level, how international corporations are playing a considerable role in climate change and other quandaries, how visions and convictions are created and are being passed from generation to another, how all the problems that Earth is facing generated, and deeply think of ways to make an impact on the world, and find radical solutions to those issues