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Thursday 20th October is the day of the Global Human Rights Week - Raising Peace Campaign, dedicated to the Rights of Migrants and Refugees, an issue that has become a priority for Alliance organisations during 2016. Here is a message from Mattia LOLLI, president of the Alliance, on this occasion.
In the last years an increasing number of people around the world had to leave their home and community, because of wars, conflicts, extreme poverty, lack of opportunities but also natural and environmental disasters linked to climate change. This phenomenon took the shape of a real humanitarian crisis in Europe, where in 2015 more than 3.700 persons died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, according to the numbers of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
In this dramatic context, we see intolerance and xenophobia rising; national governments not being capable to find a common agreement to face together this challenge, to provide support and elaborate inclusion policies at european level. Instead, we see walls closing the borders, separating peoples and turning Europe into a fortress.
Migration is not something happening only in Europe, there are several Countries in the world receiving much more migrants and refugees than European ones. Migration is not a momentary emergency but it is going to be more and more a natural phenomenon connected with the global changes and challenges our world is facing, and this should bring all of us to re-think our whole idea of citizenship.
We, as networks and organisations engaged in the management of International Voluntary Service (IVS) projects, are committed to a world in which all peoples are free to move and free to settle. These rights are universal, inalienable and to be exercised without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
We believe that human rights, freedom of movement and multiculturality are universal values that must be recognized beyond any border. This awareness comes from the very deep meaning of our nature and history, since the first workcamps took place after 1st World War.
Today, we continue to work together to promote a message of peace and mutual understanding, and that’s why, in front of the humanitarian crisis of millions of people displaced, we are standing by their side, because we believe that every volunteer is a migrant, searching and working for a better world.
This year the IVS movement was engaged in a number of projects and activities involving migrants and refugees, all over the world and particularly in Europe. We are coordinating our actions and efforts in order to speak with a common voice and share a message of peace and inclusion. We will meet in Serbia (Petnica) in the end of October for a General Conference, that will bring together International Voluntary Service Networks and Organisations, NGOs that are working in the field and activists from all over Europe, to share a common plan of action for the future. We invited to join us the European Commission (Migration and Foreign Affairs representatives), United Nations (UNHCR and UNV) and European Youth Policy Institutions and stakeholders (among which YFJ and EYF).
While National Governments continue with the policy of closing the borders we strive for a vision of an open society, where different cultures and experiences are seen as a richness and not as a threat; where the people that live in a territory has the right to actively contribute and care about its future. We experience it in our workcamps and IVS projects, where volunteers, migrants and local communities, are working together for a better world and society.
This is the future and the social change we will continue to work for.
Mattia Lolli, President of the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations
The Global Human Rights Week (17th-22nd October) is a global event composed by awareness-raising actions, trainings, volunteering, communication and advocacy actions on the topics of Human Rights and Peace that are striking in the local realities of IVS organisations. The aim is to bring attention to the existing challenges and to promote real action for Human Rights and Peace by the IVS movement. The Week is promoted under the Raising Peace Campaign of CCIVS network.