Recently, the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) published the research report ‘Migrant-led advocacy across Europe’ as part of its efforts to support migrant-led advocates and initiatives to have greater ownership of and influence on policy agendas that concern them.
Migrants can use first-handexperiences to improve migration policies,for themselves, for their communities and for European societies. Policymaking is improved when affected populations are engaged in its development. Migrant advocates can sense-check policies, contributeinnovative solutions, identify gaps and connect to their larger communities. Furthermore, and because of their proximity to the realities of their communities, they are often also ‘first responders’to migrant’ needs and priorities, and already engaged in work to improve the lives of migrants on the ground.
The report identifies obstacles to migrant advocates’ participation in policy-making and addresses recommendations to policymakers, non-migrant led civil society organisations, funders and migrant advocates. The participants involved in the report identify a lack of transparency in information-sharing and political processes as the basis for migrant advocates’ lack of trust in decision-making and overall policymaking. Research participants often felt that the issues their advocacy work concerns are addressed by politicians only when it is in their interest to do so, and that they are therefore often used as ‘pawns’ in wider political games.
The report also considers the fundamental issues related to the legitimacy of migrant advocates and the impact of institutionalised racism in this context. From vaious interviews with participants, it is clear that institutions challenge the credibility of migrant advocates -i.e. if they are “professional” enough to receive instutions’ help- and their representativeness, which refers to what extent they speak for the group they claim to represent, in an effort to undermine their legitimacy. The report finally includes a set of recomendations to address these issues.
Eurodiaconia’s network is active in the reception, integration and social inclusion of migrants and their families. From educational initiatives for refugee children in Greece to food banks and vocational training, one objective of our members is to make sure migrants -a vulnerable group- are fully integrated in society and the labour market, thus preventing radicalisation and expressions of violent extremism. Currently, our Migration Network Meeting in Athens is bringing together participants from our member organisations across Europe to learn, discuss and share best practice regarding the integration of migrants with a specific focus on children.
If you would like to access EPIM’s full report, please read it online.
To know more about our advocacy work on migration and our members’ projects, please read our latest policy paper.