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The Human Rights of Immigrants and Refugees by Lauren Turner

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 25, 2013

Immigrants and Refugees Panel 450The morning session at the European Leadership Conference 2013 – 22nd of November started with an introduction by Margret, followed by the first speaker, Ahmed Shebani. Ahmed Shebani is the Founder of a Libyan freedom and democracy campaign and spoke about illegal immigration and migration from North Africa. He began by explaining how Libya was the gateway to Africa, and because of this many refugees and economic migrants make their way towards Libya. By revealing that he knows that forces have in the past destroyed ships with immigrants still on them, he revealed the horrible truth of illegal immigration and people’s reaction to it, regardless of the reasons behind their migration. “Migrant’s are a force for good, not a force of negative connotation” he argued as he called for a new approach towards them.

The next speaker was Dr. Neil Falzon, who is head of a human rights NGO in Malta called Aditus. He challenged the audience’s perception of immigrants, suggesting that it’s not only people who are waiting at borders to get into a country that are immigrants as there are instead both legal and physical boarders. Borders cause the immigrants to become ‘borderliners’ he argued, in both their own countries and in any country that they flee to, especially if in their own country they have not enjoyed the protection of their state. Further, if they cannot secure legal papers, they are forced to take the illegal route that causes them to be “rendered invisible or criminal”. As such, this is a huge problem causing them to forever be on the fringes of society. He concluded with the fact that governments need to bring the immigrants away from the border-line into the core of human society. This was something that was also expanded upon by Mr Camel Bechikh, who spoke about France and how the Algerian community have found it hard to integrate into the wider society. He believed that they also should be encouraged to adopt the French culture, to help expand their identities and to integrate more fully.

The talks were concluded with Rohema Miah and Tim Miller. Rohema Miah spoke about how she saw immigration in the UK. Although speaking after these countries with human rights issues and bigger problems than the UK, she did draw upon the fact that she finds the new rules discriminative. TF3 for example was withdrawn without notice, immediately making those who stayed on past their visas illegal. EU migrants don’t often stay and as such they are uninterested in learning a skill or a trade, she pointed out, whereas people from non-EU countries are, and the withdrawing of TF3 makes this a lot more difficult. Afterwards, Tim Miller concluded that “we need to be there for people who need us” which is very apt for all of the previous talks and links to the ideas of Global Citizenship and helping everyone who needs it without barriers.

The session was a part of ‘Human Rights: Are Democratic Nations Upholding a Better Standard?’. The Universal Peace Federation, one of the conference sponsoring bodies, is a partner of Parliament Week and this conference is one of a series of events happening during Parliament Week.

One Response to “The Human Rights of Immigrants and Refugees by Lauren Turner”

  1. […] The Human Rights of Immigrants and Refugees by Lauren Turner […]

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