On 20 June 2019 we observe the World Refugee Day, an opportunity to remind ourselves our moral responsibility to protect and assist refugees and ensure them a place where they would be welcomed and able to rebuild their lives in security.
20 June 2019, Brussels – The right to move freely within countries and territories is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. People leave their country because they want to discover other places, speak other languages, work, study or simply improve their life. Some of them are leaving because of conflicts, human rights violations and the impacts of the climate change. In 2018, their number reached 70.8 million people, out of which 29.4 million are refugees or asylum seekers.
Yet, behind the numbers there are people like us: parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, workers, students, activists, citizens, etc., who are confronted to exceptional situations and are forced to leave their homes, their neighbourhood and their countries to escape real risks and dangers. Some of them lose their life, face multiple challenges and are exposed to different risks. Women and children refugee face heightened risk of violence, exploitation and even trafficking during their journey and so, need a special protection and response to their needs.
Unfortunately, at present, a border is not just a line on a map, it is a whole system for filtering and retaining people, trying to prevent certain categories of migrants from reaching other countries. A great deal of expensive, coercive and ignominious measures is put in place ranging from closing down legal routes to introducing penalties such as the solidarity offense, signing treaties with neighbours to control migration flows and place migrants into categories – refugee, economic migrant, regular, irregular, etc.
‘It is high time to have a more honest, responsible and fact-based conversation about migration, recognising the development potential of this phenomenon and its positive impact on our societies. We should not look for a miracle solution, but rather recognise the need for a collective action and a shared responsibility’– declared Khady Sakho Niang, President of ADEPT.
People will continue to move to improve their quality of live, to escape poverty, but also because they are connected to global culture and networks of communication. We cannot stop them from choosing the place they want to live. Instead, we can make migration working for everyone, valorise the contribution of migrants to our societies and accept that one of those people is any less a person and that their experience is any less real, thus drawing up a fairer, equal and a more tolerant world where all of us have the opportunity to thrive, dream and succeed!
African diaspora is one of the most active and engaged actors in this struggle, providing humanitarian assistance to refugees in crisis situation, assisting refugees and migrants legally, socially and economically, enabling them to successfully integrate into the societies of the host countries. ADEPT and its members will continue their work from sunup to sundown to help migrants and refugees in need to achieve the full respect of their fundamental rights so as to leave no one behind.