Impressions After CIFE’s Summer Programme On Migration

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I have just returned to Romania after a few days in Rome, Italy, where I was invited to share my experience on human rights law and European Union law in a summer/autumn programme organized by CIFE (for those who do not know about CIFE or CIFE’s summer programmes, please see http://www.cife.eu/fr/4/programme-universitaire-d-ete_6-1) in collaboration with Università La Sapienza and Centro Italiano di Formazione Europea. 

The programme organized in Rome (September 25, 2016 – October 1, 2016) had as topic Migrants in Europe: Borders, Human Rights and International Security, and it was really cross-cultural (reuniting students from Austria, Bresil, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo/Albania, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and lecturers from Italy, Estonia and Romania – actually my colleague Hamed has an incredible life story and is difficult to come under just one country – from Iran, settled in Estonia, working in Norway). 

My presentations have addressed the issue of human trafficking as a new modern form of slavery (where I have tackled the irregular migration issue) and EU’s commitments to solve it.

At the end of the programme, we have organized a role-play by dividing the students in four teams (migrants, activists, opposers and Italian authorities). I must confess that the role-play was great, the students have impressed me with their capacity of using the information received and getting into the skin of characters (I have to underline that some of them were actually graduate, with experience in human rights). I am so sorry they did not agree to record it – it would have been a great tool for other students (I attach however a few photos in order to have an idea – I hope my students and colleagues will not mind). 

Additionally, I have told them a few things about Issues Without Borders platform (who was created from the passion for human rights law) and showed them a video about it. The students were very interested in learning more and I really hope we will collaborate in the future.

As for the organizing team, I have to admit that I know Marie-France Perdigon, who is the manager of the summer university programme, for many years and our collaboration has always been great. I have also really loved our Italian host, Cristina Giudici, who is professor at the Unesco Chair in Population, Migrations and Development at Università La Sapienza in Rome and the President of Centro Italiano di Formazzione Europea.

After the summer programme, Marie France and Cristina have organized an alumni meeting that was great, giving us the alumni the possibility to reconect and to socialize (I am also an alumni of CIFE after attending different summer programmes – this was the manner I have discovered the CIFE). At this alumni meeting, I was invited to be part of a debate panel about BREXIT.

Marie France’s proffesionalism and thoroughness, the high level of the students and lecturers, as well as the partners and locations chosen, are arguments that make me each year to follow CIFE’s path and to deliver lectures in different parts of the world. I really hope that next year I will be invited again (in another summer programme or again in Rome, especially that I made a wish at the Trevi Fountain… and I have to get back to Rome again)!

Congratulations CIFE for doing such a spectacular work with your summer programmes! You should be really proud of your ambassadors! 

 

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Should the European States Receive Waves of Refugees (Debate)

12094813_925137130907791_5922521253217343877_o On October 13, at Petru Maior University in Targu Mures, Romania, the local European Law Students Association (ELSA) held an  interesting  debate  about the current European refugee crisis; this debate was themed: Should the European states receive waves of  refugees? Despite  setting a certain  tone and appearing as presenting view on the current crisis, this is an actual topic, often taken as a  ‘neutral’ starting point in  many discussions  throughout the different EU states. Even though it is discussed extensively on many  occasions, this has not led to any answers  or solutions, not at the  national and not at the international level.

 

 

12113375_925136954241142_7434567905774241270_oThe audience was made up of 120 students, professors and law professionals, and the key speakers of this event were: assoc. Prof. Dr. Nicolae Ploeşteanu, Mr. Andrei Palade, attorney Raul Miron and Alex Suciu on behalf of IWB. They approached this issue from various perspectives and tried to create a larger and more comprehensive picture of the subject. In their attempts to create a more comprehensive picture, the participants not only used legal arguments, but also historical, cultural and geo-political arguments. The most debated and revealing point of the event was if the Sharia Law could be used in parallel with European law systems.

All in all, the event was successful and the organisers hope to continue organising similar academic debates.

By Alex Suciu

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IWB at the ENS conference ‘None of Europe’s Children should be Stateless’

On the 2nd and 3rd June, IWB was in Budapest to attend a conference organized by the European Network on Statelessness (ENS). The conference represented an important step of the campaign ‘None of Europe’s Children should be Stateless’. 100 participants from over 30 countries got together with the goal of ending childhood statelessness in Europe. (more about the campaign here: http://www.statelessness.eu/communications/campaigns/none-europes-children-should-be-stateless).

Lawyers, academics, government officials, journalists, NGOs, UN representatives as well as representatives from other agencies engaged in a passionate and fruitful debate on the subject. Each panel and each individual speaker gave us a different angle from which to analyse the complex and challenging issue of childhood statelessness, with one common assumption: having a nationality is a fundamental right of every child.

No child chooses to be stateless. Children always have a connection with at least one country, the one where they were born and grew up, and the one where their parents are from. Each country has its own rules to confer nationality, but as long as European states will not ensure the right to acquire citizenship to every child born in Europe or to European parents there will continue to be stateless children in Europe. Lacking a nationality has many consequences on the lives of children, like limited or no access to basic rights like education, housing or health care, as well as vulnerability to poverty, detention or exploitation.

It was pointed out during the conference that preventing children from becoming stateless is not an impossible goal to achieve. This could be done by introducing safeguards in nationality laws, granting the nationality of a certain country to all children born there and that would otherwise be stateless. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to the subject until now, and it is necessary to raise the political will to properly address the issue in Europe. MEP Jean Lambert claimed that the moment has come to push the agenda forward – and I felt this purpose has strongly and positively lead the whole event.

There were two things I particularly appreciated about this conference, other than learning more about stateless children and the many sides to this issue. Firstly, the attention dedicated to concrete actions, and the possible next steps to take in order to tackle the many issues raised during various discussions. Each panel did not just present a problem, but encouraged an active debate on how to find answers and durable solutions. Secondly, being surrounded by experts whose intention was not to keep the discussion behind closed doors, but also to bring it outside of the room and into practice. Many speakers have indeed plead the importance of engaging the public, mobilising young people and minors themselves, as well as creating the political space to raise awareness and address childhood statelessness in more effective ways.

The analysis of countries’ case studies proved that together with good practices – that need more solid and wide implementation, many challenges to end childhood statelessness in Europe lie ahead. The participation and the commitment so many people have shown for this 2-days conference is the proof that there is a strong will to face these challenges together.

You can read the conference Action Statement here:

http://www.statelessness.eu/news-events/news/conference-action-statement-none-europes-children-should-be-stateless

Check out some photos from the conference here:

http://allanleas.wix.com/ens-budapest-2015