Realizou-se no passado dia 16 e 17 de Junho uma reunião do Bureau da Associação Europeia dos Antigos Parlamentares na qual a AEDAR esteve representada pela associado Luís Nandin de Carvalho.
Desta reunião salientam-se os seguintes pontos:
Reunião do Bureau , no Parlamento Sueco, com intensiva discussão do documento anexo sobre MIGRAÇAO, cuja identificação deverá ser a final EMIGRATION CHALLENGES. Foi possível fazer várias intervenções sobre o texto , em especial sobre o #6 ( no pressuposto do principio da solidariedade reciproca) que terá provavelmente o seguinte teor na redacção final:
The Immigration in Europe has been experiencing since the summer of 2015 is different from previous ones (e.g. 1945) as immigrants mostly come from countries with different cultural and religious backgrounds and not all of them are prepared to accept “our common values” and legal and socio-political norms, even some may seek to active undermine the host’s countries’ legal and political norms.
Este documento será retomado em LYON, sob forma de seminário em Outubro de 10 a 12. Aqui fica o texto com as alterações feitas até à data:
Draft June 2016
1) The history of humankind has always also been a story of migration and settlement. In our time, almost all parts of the world are affected by migration in the form of voluntary and non-voluntary immigration, emigration or transit movements, which could be defined as a catch-up globalisation. This is due to persecution, wars and armed conflicts, Climate Change and natural disasters, miserable and insecure living conditions.
2) According to UNHCR these are about 60 thousand million forcibly displaced persons, most of them in Africa and Asia. Usually they stay in the neighbourhood (within their country or a nearby country) to be able to return, when the situation ameliorates.
3) In case the situation gets worse and there seems to be no way to return or the situation in refugee camps or temporary protection centres become dangerous or unbearable, displaced persons will flee again to other parts of the world, where they expect to be safe. Camps in affected areas often suffer from lack of resources, when the international community fails in its commitment to provide financial and humanitarian support.
4) Reaching safer regions is attempted by migrating in large numbers or by using the “services” of traffickers of persons. Acts, which are often driven by fear to die, where they are and hope to survive elsewhere. Routes to countries of destination can often not be predicted and may change when policies changes, but refugees, who are afraid of dying if they stay in their country or at the camps, would not be afraid of dying during their travelling.
5) The recent movements of asylum-seekers, refugees, and migrants represent major challenges for Europe. Globally, millions of people are seeking a better, free and healthy life in a safe, nonviolent environment for themselves and often their families. These aspirations are understandable, but it is not possible within the foreseeable future for European countries to satisfy these aspirations and often unattainable expectations of all the millions of people wanting to come.
6) The Immigration Europe has been experiencing since the summer of 2015 is different from previous ones (e.g. 1945) as immigrants mostly come from countries with different cultural and religious backgrounds and not all of them are prepared to accept “our common values” and legal and socio-political norms, even some may seek to undermine the host’s countries’ legal and political norms.
7) We, former parliamentarians of the “European Association of former members of parliament of the member states of the Council of Europe” (FP-AP), believe in the following principles and propose guidelines for tackling the challenges.
8) The Geneva Refugee Convention, the UN Declaration on Universal Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights of the Council of Europe set the policy framework of most aspects of immigration policies – supplemented by national and EU regulations.
9) There must be a worldwide and European responsibility sharing in terms of integrating immigrants and boosting the number of refugee resettlement places – all this requires a common political will in our countries and adequate financial means.
The root causes of growing forced migration must be addressed in the countries of origin. It is the duty of the international community to join in the efforts to eradicate the root causes.
10) We need to be humane and rational in our attitude towards the immigration question.
In addition to the legal instruments, in particular the Geneva Refugee Convention and the special rules for war refugees, we have to devise a further system of controlled and lawful immigration in order to avoid the danger of overstretching state and societal systems and absorptive capacities.
11) All efforts, from asylum policies to robust search-and-rescue mechanisms must be guided by the humanitarian principle: rescue the lives of persons and safeguard the dignity of all human beings.
12) Asylum-seekers, refugees and (economic) migrants have to be treated differently. Migrants don’t have inherent rights to migrate to another country of which they are not nationals – with the exception of the EU where the right of free movement of persons exist. Migrants who are not granted the right to stay (e.g. coming from safe third countries) should be made to return to their home countries as soon as possible.
13) What is called the flight and migratory crisis is actually a crisis of Europe and has to be solved by all European countries. Better cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination is needed.
14) Managed migration helps ensure safe and legal channels for refugees and migrants, including specific measures for those suffering from humanitarian catastrophes. Anticipating future challenges includes providing measures for people escaping areas progressively ravaged by Climate Change.
15) In view of the actual great number of immigrants, border controls and registrations must be maintained and even enforced, with particular regard to the problems of terrorism, organised crime and trafficking of persons.
16) We need to pursue a European policy on asylum, refugees and migration based on our common values of humanity as well as on the principle of solidarity and enlightened self-interest.
17) Integration into our societies requires efforts from our respective countries as well as from migrants. The development of ethnic ghettos and/or parallel societies must be avoided.
18) The wish of asylum seekers and refugees to return to their home countries, if the situation there ameliorates, has to be upheld.
19) European solidarity is required on three levels:
(i) Vis à vis refugees;
(ii) Within the whole of Europe
(iii) To refugees’ countries of origin where the causes of emigration and flight are inherent, though those have to show solidarity as well.
Immigration can open opportunities but only if the challenges are successfully addressed and decisions and laws are implemented. We need strong democratic states with efficient institutions and good governance.
Challenges and Threats
20) Regarding the massive immigration, we perceive great challenges, even danger as well as opportunities stemming from legal, regulated immigration.
21) The huge flows of immigration threaten to divide Europe, to endanger EU’s accomplishments and visions, to encourage a return to nationalism, to undermine – within our countries – social cohesion and important values such as Human Rights and democracy, and to create a wider breeding ground for chauvinism and nationalism, xenophobia, racism and intolerance. There are limits to what our countries and communities can bear and shoulder.
22) The great and unpredictable number of refugees, as well as the changing routes presents unprecedented difficulties for authorities in transit and/or countries of destination regarding registration, organisation of shelter and systemisation. As it is often impossible to verify name, origin or age of refugees or migrants, they have the obligation to honestly reveal their identity.
23) A large number of refugees try to reach Europe with the help of traffickers of persons, i.e. organized international crime, resulting in death of drowning, abuse and rape, killing and loss of documents and funds. Women and children are the most vulnerable group and special efforts have to be undertaken to support them.
24) Authorities in European Countries need resources to provide humanitarian help and shelter; organize travelling and distribution of migrants; provide language courses and integration measures; make special provisions for unaccompanied minors.
25) People are sometimes afraid of foreigners, in particular if there is no common language and they can only communicate with difficulty. Some also fear that many people with different background concerning religion and traditions could bring too much change to the European societies. Such fears could lead to developments endangering the process of European cooperation.
26) Experiences prove that a legal, controlled and reasonable immigration can open opportunities for the European host countries.
27) Demographic change, an ageing population as well as the lack of labour force and developmental dynamism in many European countries demand holistic and attractive immigration and integration policies that could create triple-win situations – for the host country, the country of origin, and the migrant.
28) New positive economic and cultural activities could be triggered off by the greater number of inhabitants.
29) Chances for development for European societies with integrated refugees can only be realised if measures and conditions are transparent, comprehensive and fair, worked out, monitored and evaluated with the participation of all stake holders.
Possible Actions and Answers
We, Former Parliamentarians declare and demand from
A) The International Community
30) At UN level, as well as by national engagement, every possible effort should be made to end armed conflict and to hinder escalation of conflicts.
31) International diplomacy should work to find balanced solutions, as developing as well as developed countries are struggling with economic, environmental, humanitarian and political challenges,that require coordinated international responses.
32) UNHCR should be provided with sufficient funds to run the refugee camps.
33) UNOCD (the UN office on Drugs and Crime) should be supported to fight international organized crime, in particular trafficking of persons.
34) At EU level the establishment of a functioning external border control by a common agency is indispensable.
35) International coordinated actions to combat terrorism and organized crime are necessary.
B) The Member States of the Council of Europe and the United Nations
36) Authorities have to cooperate in a better way to manage the flow of refugees.
37) Countries have to install efficient and fast procedures for registration and recognition of refugees.
38) Measures to integrate refugees into European societies, where gender equality and equal rights for women are constitutional rights, have to be comprehensive and compulsory.
39) States, as well as political parties, teaching and economic institutions should inform citizens, in particular their stakeholders about the impact of the arrival of refugees and migrants on European societies. The international Migrants’ Day on December 18th could be one opportunity.
C) Civil Society
40) The role of NGOs in dealing with the influx of refugees is important, as many NGOs are involved in helping authorities welcoming, housing and teaching the language to refugees The organisations should get more support and credit for that from national authorities as well as from the international community. The task to point out that Europe is going through a period of change and how to best cope with this, cannot be achieved by state authorities and/or politicians alone.
41) Integration is an important challenge for civil society as well. It must be made part of the social and intercultural dialogue. The task of supporting official bodies in examining school textbooks and history books with a view to discriminatory, racist and xenophobic content, and removing them, also falls within this context.
42) We support solidary efforts of a humane, rational, immigration and integration policy in Europe characterized by a comprehensive approach lowering the risks and threats related to an illegal influx of people; and enhancing possible opportunities as well. We support integration and counteract discrimination, racism and xenophobia.
43) ‘Our’ European values: gender equality, respect of the Human Rights, the rule of law, a pluralistic, liberal and secular society, as well as the legal and socio-political systems and institutions are to be respected by everyone. We expect from immigrants the readiness for integration (language learning, attendance at civic integration courses, making use of the educational and vocational training facilities and job offers).
44) Integration should not be understood as assimilation. Those who refuse integration into our societies should not have future opportunities in our countries, as they exclude themselves from our solidarity.
45) European solidarity is required towards refugees: within Europe and between the EU Member States; particularly as regards local and regional authorities, where the problems directly emerge and integration is taking place. There is need for a clear regulatory framework and adequate financial resources. And last but not least towards the refugees’ countries of origin to fight the root causes of the problems.
46) Implementing the 2030 Agenda of the UN with its 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), the international community, UN Member States and the EU, civil society and the private sector are called upon to contribute to the development towards a better world.
47) We demand the UN Member States, in particular the EU to further implement and strengthen a forward-looking, sustainable, humane, efficient and comprehensive development policy in partnership with the developing countries especially in Africa and the Middle East. An action plan for creating better livelihoods and job opportunities, rebuilding social, economic and democratic structures and thus facilitating the return of refugees. Circular migration and reintegration programmes, as well as migrant remittances may soften the problems of brain drain.
48) Governments and parliaments must strengthen social cohesion and work on eliminating stereotypes and prejudices towards foreigners. Policies in order to strengthen citizens’ faith in democracy have to be implemented, so that further disenchantment with democracy and politics in Europe and particularly in the EU can be avoided.
49) The Committee for Migration and Integration of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should play a more important role to monitor and evaluate the development in Europe.
50) Integration can only be successful as a process of mutual efforts of the majority and minority, involving newcomers from the start into content and method of civic, cultural, social and political participation. After refugees receive recognition and status the citizens of the respective country should understand that acceptance and support is needed for their integration.
51) We propose that the Member States of the Council of Europe together with local authorities, civil society and immigrants create a
“Charter of Equal Participation in Political and Public Life”.