We write to you this month from Torino, where our conference “Moving Stories: Narratives of Migration Crossing Europe” is in full swing. Young activists from all over Europe are discussing the issues around narrative of migration in Europe, sharing their best practices and learning about new tools to deconstruct narratives and promote their own, positive visions of an inclusive and open society.
Over the past month, the political and moral crisis in Europe arising from the influx of refugees at the European borders has shown no signs of improvement. The implementation of the EU-Turkey deal has continued, despite opposition from civil society and the United Nations refugee agency. There have also been worrying reports of Turkish security personnel firing live rounds at refugees escaping war in Syria; if true, these reports signal a dark new chapter in the history of Fortress Europe.
There was, though, a surprising turn of events when Pope Francis, on his visit to the Greek island of Lesbos, returned to the Vatican with a group of vulnerable refugees, sending a clear message of rebuke to those who disguise a hatred of refugees as a “defence” of the Christian values that so many Europeans hold dear.
When UNITED was founded in 1992, its vision was to offer a platform for networking and connection between branches of civil society that were formerly disconnected from one another. With recent reports from Bulgaria highlighting the far-right nationalists “hunting” refugees on the border, and similar reports coming in from Sweden, it is clear that the connection between antifascist groups and refugee support organisations that UNITED has fostered for the past 20+ years have never been more important. Meanwhile, our conference in Torino seeks to strengthen the links between civil society organisations and the media, creating new synergies and strategies to continue and improve our vital work.
Best greetings and stay UNITED!
News from UNITED
|UNITED Network Conference – “Moving Stories: Narratives of Migration Crossing Europe”
Together with partner organisations all over Europe, UNITED for Intercultural Action is organising an international conference to bring together around 70 network activists from all over Europe to discuss the issues around narrative of migration in Europe, share their best practices and learn about new tools to deconstruct narratives and promote their own, positive visions of an inclusive and open society. Entitled “Moving Stories: Narratives of Migration Crossing Europe”, the conference is taking place at a venue near Torino, Italy, from 22-27 April 2016. Read more …
|UNITED represented at OSCE meeting on countering intolerance and discrimination
UNITED was represented at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meeting on countering intolerance and discrimination, which took place in Vienna on 14-15 April. UNITED co-organised a side event at the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting that accompanied the main OSCE meeting, while UNITED’s Ralph du Long chaired a panel session. Read more …
News from the Network
|OSCE-ODIHR request civil society hate crime data
OSCE-ODIHR are reaching out to civil society organisations to contribute data for their annual report on hate crimes in the OSCE region. Deadline for submissions is 30 April. Read more …
|Stop the Silence: FAGiC organises campaign for International Roma Day 2016
To mark International Roma Day on 8 April, Federacion de Asociaciones Gitanas de Catalunya (FAGiC) is organising an online social media campaign, encouraging people in Catalonia and further afield to show solidarity for Roma rights. Read more …
|Preparations underway for new Roma Institute for Arts and Culture
On the occasion of International Roma Day, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, reaffirmed the Council of Europe’s support for the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, which will be launched in Berlin later in 2016. Read more …
|Polish Jewish museum wins European Museum of the Year Award
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews was selected to win the annual award from a shortlist of 49 nominees from 24 European countries. The prize was presented at a ceremony in Donostia/San Sebastian, Basque Country/Spain. Read more ...
|RAA Saxony launches practical guide to hate crime victim support in Europe
UNITED network organisation RAA Saxony has launched its pratical guide to hate crime victim support in Europe. UNITED representatives were involved in the realisation of the project. Read more …
|Young professionals invited to EU-Russia “Europe Lab” Forum
The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum invites young professionals aged between 25 and 35 from the EU, Russia, and other European states to apply for the 2nd edition of the “Europe Lab” Forum. Deadline to apply is 1 May. Read more …
|Does your organisation have news for UNITED to publish on the website/ announce in the monthly UNITED E-News? Let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org (note: we will prioritise news from partners and registered supporters of the UNITED network – click here to find out how to become a supporter).
Any events or activities focusing on topics relevant to the UNITED network can be announced via the online form for publication in UNITED’s online Calendar of Internationalism.
Highlights from the UNITED Website
|What would a society ruled by Neo-Nazis be like?
Beata Balogová tries to answer the question of what a society ruled by neonazi politicians would really look like in practice. Read more …
|More than a welcome: the power of cities
What is the scope for circumventing the national and EU deadlock over migration, and what role can cities, together with solidarity movements, play in overcoming this crisis? By Manuela Zechner and Bue Rübner Hansen via Open Democracy. Read more …
|Asylum Seekers in Europe: Perspectives from the Homeless Sector
Mauro Striano of the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) looks at the issue of homelessness facing asylum seekers and refugees in Europe. Read more …
|“The first step is to know the ‘other’.” Interview with Carta di Roma’s Martina Chichi
Ahead of UNITED’s upcoming conference near Torino, where she is scheduled to speak, UNITED interviewed Carta di Roma’s Martina Chichi to ask her about how civil society and media organisations can work together to improve coverage of migrant and refugee issues in the mainstream media. Read more …
|“We now have more tools than ever that can help to challenge the media narrative.” Statement from Ron Salaj
Ahead of the upcoming UNITED conference in Italy, where he is scheduled to speak and lead a workshop on deconstructing narratives, Ron Salaj writes about the narrative of migration in Europe today, and how civil society organisations should respond to the refugee crisis. Read more …
|Life After Recognition: the difficulties of integration for recognised refugees in Hungary
Menedék’s Attila Szabó looks at the difficulties facing refugees in their integration into Hungarian society, even after being recognised and given official status as refugees. Read more …
|Why “migrant” and “refugee” fail to grasp new diasporas
The language of immigration and refugees is insufficient to capture an emergent history. Water shortages, pollution, climate change, produce millions of new victims. We need new tools to understand and protect new massive displacements. By Saskia Sassen via Open Migration. Read more …
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|During the Torino conference, UNITED network activists will work on planning our the future activities of the UNITED network! This will include a special campaign to be launched around International Refugee Day on 20 June. Stay tuned for updates!