European activists from the Emmaus Movement took part in a citizen counter-summit and the Euro-African campaign event for migration justice in Brussels on 12-13 December 2017.
On the eve of the last European Council meeting of the year, this event formed part of the campaign for migration and social justice run by CNCD 11.11.11, an umbrella organisation of close to 90 development NGOs, trade unions and associations. These organisations take action to eradicate inequality so that every person can live a dignified life wherever they choose. The organisations call for safe and legal migration routes and fight for equal rights for all. They also work to ensure that everyone’s social rights are respected, whether they live in their countries of origin or are migrants, and whether they live in the developed or developing world. Unlike the current commonplace restrictive and repressive migration policies, migration justice is based on the fundamental concepts of solidarity, respect for rights and equality, in order to demonstrate that another sort of policy is possible. The two days saw plenty of discussion, particularly about border closure and outsourcing of migration policies, and the criminalisation of those who help refugees. Real-life examples of initiatives in this area and alternatives, including those put forward by the Emmaus Movement, were shared by the organisations in attendance.
Local initiatives were also presented, such as the Citizen Support for Refugees Platform. This Belgian platform wants to develop practical solidarity with all migrants by reiterating that the right to live a dignified life belongs to all. The platform enables citizens to volunteer online to offer accommodation, meals, transport etc and all the information is shared via the organisation’s Facebook page, which has already been liked by over 40,000 people.
Via the Hospitable districts movement, launched in September 2017 by CNCD 11.11.11, citizen collectives are taking action in Belgium to ensure that their local districts make a practical commitment to improving reception and living conditions for migrants. To date, 11 Belgian districts have voted to become hospitable districts.
Finally, a European citizen initiative is set to be launched in early 2018 to champion receiving migrants in Europe. This initiative will bring together EU citizens and they will then invite the European Commission to put forward a legislative proposal in an area in which the EU can legislate. The campaign continues!
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