E-Newsletter
26 February 2021 / 143

EU highlights

  • The European Commission published the 'Union Actions grants under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF): Annual work programmes for Union Actions 2019' booklet, presenting a compilation of 39 ongoing transnational and innovative projects;
  • At the end of January, the European Migration Network (EMN) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched the fifth publication in their series on the impact of COVID-19. This latest edition explores the impact of the pandemic on voluntary and forced return procedures and policy responses;
  • EWSI continues to document COVID-19’s impact on migrant communities across Europe, here.


Upcoming Events

Croatia: Online conference "New Neighbours - Croatian Media portrayals of integration in European context""

18/02/2021 11:00
(Online - Facebook live)
Is Croatian society ready to accept new neighbours and then together build integration as a two-way - and sometimes quite complex - process? HRT journalist Daniela Draštata and Dutch colleague Frans Jennekens started exploring answers to such questions through a documentary series within…
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Luxembourg: Transition days

24/02/2021 12:15
(Online)
Le Centre for Ecological Learning Luxembourg et l’ASTI, avec la participation du CNE -Conseil National pour Étrangers  invitent à un forum virtuel « Les tiers-lieux au Luxembourg : faire ensemble pour mieux vivre ensemble ». Le but…
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France: L'évolution des flux migratoires depuis 50 ans en France et en Europe - Webinaire

04/03/2021 09:00
(En ligne)
A l'occasion de ses 50 ans, l'association France terre d’asile  va organiser tout au long de l'année 2021 une série de webinaires sur l'asile et les migrations. La conférence inaugurale de ce cycle aura lieu le 4 mars 2021 . Quelles ont été et…
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France: Les représentations des minorités ethnoraciales dans l’audiovisuel français

25/02/2021 13:30
(En ligne)
Ces journées d'étude portent sur l’évolution des modes de représentation de la diversité ethnoraciale française dans un paysage médiatique refaçonné par la convergence numérique. Elles se dérouleront en ligne les…
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Latest News

Netherlands: Anti-discrimination training for government employees

Employees of the Tax and Customs Administration and other executive government organisations must receive training on discrimination. This is what outgoing Prime Minister Rutte states in a letter sent to the Lower House soon after the fall of the governing coalition. Organisations such as the UWV, the Social Insurance Bank and the Education Executive Agency are also mentioned as target groups.

12 million EUR for anti-discrimination

The budgetary framework that was sent with the government's response states that until 2026, 12 million euros will be earmarked for 'anti-discrimination' training for the national government and municipalities. Increasing awareness of officials' own prejudices and entrenched stereotypes, in order to prevent discrimination within the government, is an important focal point of the the strategic personnel policy for central government 2025.

Expansion of Human Rights Institute and new roles

The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights will play an important role in the training. ‘It will include training on discrimination and prejudices’ says Adriana van Dooijeweert, Director of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights. ‘The goal is to make people aware that everyone is unconsciously prejudiced and at risk of unconsciously discriminating. It is important to be aware of the consequences of discrimination.’

Van Dooijeweert also sees the establishment of a National Coordinator for Discrimination as an important weapon in the fight against discrimination. Additionally, a number of governmental organisations must now refer discrimination-related complaints to the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights.

Anti-discrimination hotlines must support the reporter in the complaints process. ‘This involves provision of legal and emotional support when submitting a complaint about discrimination, and at a possible hearing at the Human Rights Institute’, Rutte states in the letter. More people must also be hired at both the hotlines and the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights: ‘A significant expansion of the activities of hotlines requires adjustment of the regulations’, Prime Minister Rutte writes.

'Training is not enough'

Anti-racism organisation Control Alt Delete thinks that the training courses are important, but not enough. ‘You have to be careful that training does not put responsibility on the individual civil servants. They do their job’, says Dionne Abdoelhafiezkhan of Control Alt Delete; ‘the problem is found throughout the entire system, at all levels of government and must therefore be tackled more broadly’. According to Abdoelhafiezkhan, the solution is to no longer work with risk profiles that include ethnicity: ‘it is now up to politicians to tackle this’.

Read more on this here and here.


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France: Lancement de la plateforme contre les discriminations

Le Défenseur des droits, autorité administrative indépendante, a lancé le 12 février 2021, antidiscriminations.fr, son nouveau service de signalement et d’accompagnement des victimes ou témoins de discriminations.

Le président de la République et la ministre délégué chargée de l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes, de la diversité et de l’égalité des chances ont souhaité confier à une institution indépendante la création et la gestion de cette plateforme annoncée en décembre 2020. Le Défenseur des droits, qui est notamment chargé de la lutte contre les discriminations et la promotion de l’égalité, bénéficie d’une expertise juridique reconnue et des relais d’accompagnement sur le territoire, nécessaires à la bonne mise en œuvre de ce service, avec un réseau de plus de 530 délégués répartis en métropole et en outre-mer.

Doté d’une plateforme internet, d’une application et d’un numéro de téléphone à 4 chiffres (39 28), d’un tchat, et d’un accès sourds ou malentendants, ce service est destiné aux personnes victimes ou témoins de discriminations, quel qu’en soit le motif (origine, handicap, sexe, etc.) et le domaine (emploi, logement, accès à un service, etc.). Des juristes du Défenseur des droits écoutent, accompagnent et orientent gratuitement les personnes pour les rétablir dans leurs droits

Si la situation relève d’un de ses champs de compétence, le Défenseur des droits pourra intervenir selon ses modes d’action habituels pour rétablir la personne dans ses droits. Si la situation n’est pas du ressort de l’institution, il orientera directement la personne vers les interlocuteurs institutionnels ou associatifs compétents.

Pour Claire Hédon, Défenseure des droits, « l’expérience répétée des discriminations a des conséquences délétères et durables sur les parcours individuels et mine la cohésion de la société française. Comme j’ai pu le dire au moment de ma prise de fonction, c’est un des axes de travail majeur de mon mandat. Cette nouvelle plateforme en est une pierre qui doit s’inscrire dans une dynamique plus large si nous voulons être à la hauteur de l’enjeu. »

Ce nouvel outil devrait très vite être complété par deux autres, une consultation citoyenne sur les discriminations et un index de la diversité en entreprise, annoncés tous deux par la ministre de l’Egalité, le 26 janvier 2021.

Pour en savoir plus, consultez le dossier de presse publié à l'occasion du lancement de la plateforme.


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Slovakia: Census pre-defines Islam as option for religion for the first time

From 15 February - 31 March 2021 the population and housing Census for Slovakia is taking place. For the first time, among the possible options to select for their religion, participants may choose Islam

The census will be conducted electronically, and under the "religion" item there will be 21 pre-defined religious communities in Slovakia to choose from: 18 registered and three unregistered (Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism). In previous census editions, Muslims had to select the "others" option for their religion as Islam was not listed at all.

Islam is not currently a registered religion in Slovakia, as the total number of believers does not meet with a criterion defined by legislation on religion registration (which stipulates 50 000 active believers for registration eligibility). This legislation has been criticised by many, and considered not only as too strict, but also as discriminatory and constituting an obstacle to the basic right of religious freedom.

Better data on religious communities gathered through this census may help to address policies or measures towards better enhancement of the right of religious freedom in Slovakia. 

Find further information here.


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Denmark: Stranger in your own country? Citizenship for children

A new report was launched by the Danish Institute for Human Rights entitled “Stranger in your own country? Access to citizenship for children and young people who are born and/or raised in Denmark”.

The institute warns that Danish legislation could be in conflict with human rights conventions on this subject: the report's authors urge the government to stop discrimination between Nordic and non-Nordic descendants, and to introduce the legal right to apply for permanent residency and citizenship for children.

The granting of citizenship is not an administrative process in Denmark; rather it comes about via a bill containing names fulfilling certain criteria, which is passed by the Danish parliament every six months. Applications for disregarding certain criteria due to disability are decided by a vote taken within a committee of MPs. The number of citizenships foreigners being granted Danish citizenship is now the lowest in the last 40 years, as a recent analysis found. 

For children, the only way to access citizenship is if their parents are or become Danish citizens, or if they are born in Denmark to stateless parents. Obtaining permanent residence is not possible for anyone under the age of 18.

Danish legislation offers special, easy access for young people who come from another Nordic country wherein they don't have to fulfil the usual strict criteria, but instead simply sign a declaration. This shows clear discrimination between two groups, according to senior researcher Maria Ventegodt from the Danish Institute for Human Rights. She adds that no other countries differentiate between the nationality held by an applicant. There is also an issue in that Denmark must live up to the European Convention on Citizenship, according to which the state must facilitate access to citizenship for young people who grew up in the country.

This report from the Danish Institute for Human Rights recommends to the Danish government the following legislation amendments:

  1. Equal access to Danish citizenship for all young people born and/or raised in Denmark;
  2. Children’s access to apply for permanent residency;
  3. Children’s access to citizenship application.

However, Danish MPs are currently discussing how to make it even more difficult for non-Western foreigners to obtain Danish citizenship. Some parties are suggesting a 'test' interview in order to clarify an applicant’s view on democracy. Others suggest that applications be sorted into non-Western and Western/Nordic groups, so that members of parliament would be able to vote against citizenship for the former group and in favour of citizenship for the latter.

The report is 100 pages long and written in Danish, however also includes a three-page summary of the findings in English. It can be accessed here.


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Italy: How has the reception system for asylum seekers and refugees changed?

The system for the reception and integration of asylum seekers and refugees has been at the heart of political debate in Italy in recent years, and as a result has been changed several times. The most recent change occurred in October 2020, when the II Conte cabinet approved a new decree on migration and security which modified some of the provisions introduced by the so-called 'Salvini Security Decrees' in 2018 and 2019. Under this new law, the former SPRAR/SIPROIMI system (one of the two branches that make up the national reception system) changed its name to SAI ('system of reception and integration'), and was reorganised into two levels: the first dedicated to international protection seekers, and the second to those that have already been granted international protection and in need of additional integration services.

In Italy, there are two parallel systems for the reception and integration of asylum seekers. The first is the SPRAR/SIPROIMI system (now SAI), managed by municipalities and NGOs, and the second comprises the Extraordinary Reception Centres (CAS), coordinated by prefectures (the local branches of the Ministry of Interior). The CAS have unfortunately made headlines on several occasions due to their dysfunctional nature.

Created in 2001, the SPRAR/SIPROIMI system is based on the voluntary participation of local institutions in a network of reception and integration projects. An example of intergovernmental cooperation at local and national levels, the SPRAR/SIPROIMI system decentralises reception activities throughout Italy. Supported by the Cittalia Foundation, the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) manages the system, and local institutions (i.e. municipalities) implement local reception projects. These local institutions are free to choose the type of reception services to be provided in their area and the recipients to be supported (e.g. individual adults, families, single pregnant women, unaccompanied minors, and victims of trafficking); however they are required to respect specific guidelines and standards in order to be funded.

Initially conceived as a temporary solution to deal with increased migrant arrivals in 2011, the Extraordinary Reception Centres (CAS) became essential additional support for the main reception system (SPRAR/SIPROIMI) as the high number of new arrivals continued.

The reform passed under the former Minister of the Interior, Mr. Salvini, not only reorganised the reception system but also deeply affected it, through the introduction of relevant budget cuts. Different tasks were assigned to the two branches of the system: CAS was to take charge of asylum seekers only, who would be required to remain in the CAS reception centres for the whole duration of their asylum procedure (which can last several months or even years), as well as during any appeal procedure. Due to budget cuts the quality of CAS facilities decreased, meeting only the most basic standards for reception. All integration services (e.g. teaching of the Italian language) were restricted to international protection beneficiaries only. 

An interesting recent study underlines a decrease in the number of local integration projects, as well as in the number of local institutions involved between 2018 and 2020. According to one of the study's authors, Leila Giannetto, 'the Salvini Decree has shaken the reception system at the core by dramatically changing the principle of protection in Italy, and by shattering the efforts of people working to build a positive relationship with and between asylum seekers and the hosting communities'. Interestingly the impact of the Salvini’s reform was not homogenous across Italy: the consequences have been different depending upon local context, as underlined by the researchers of the project.

This latest reform by the II Conte cabinet not only rehabilitated the system of reception and integration managed by municipalities and reintroduced asylum seekers and other protection holders among its beneficiaries, but also introduced a little upward flexibility in the budget available for the management of CAS centres. This means that the quantity and quality of services provided can be increased.


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Integration Practices Recently Uploaded

“GeLA” Gemeinsam Leben und Arbeiten im Landkreis Darmstadt- Dieburg

Mit dem Projekt “GeLA” verfolgen das Land Hessen, der Landkreis Darmstadt-Dieburg und der Frauenbildungsträger ZIBB - Frauen für Frauen e.V. das Ziel, geflüchtete und zugewanderte Frauen früh für den Arbeitsmarkt zu aktivieren. Neben dem Spracherwerb auf den…
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Young Generation as Change Agents (YGCA)

The "YGCA" project aims to establish a circular legal migration scheme with Morocco, with a mobility phase in which young Moroccan graduates study a one-year Master's degree in Spain. This will in turn allow for insertion into the labour market and the implementation of business and…
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Luxembourg: Parlons Santé

Le projet Parlons Santé du Planning Familial , en collaboration avec l’asbl Multilearn , vise l’intégration, l’autonomisation et le bien-être des femmes, des hommes et des adolescent.e.s demandeur.e.s et bénéficiaires d'une protection…
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Take It: Talent and art with creativity and entrepreneurship

This project is shaped around the creation of a youth centre in each of the relevant areas - the 'Take It' place - coordinated by the project’s team. This place acts as the foundation of the entire project, allowing constant development of participants' skills through leisure activities,…
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Women in reclusion in Portugal

The Diocesan Secretariat for Migration and Tourism (Catholic Diocese of Porto), in partnership with the Association More Brazil (Porto), set up the  Women in Reclusion in Portugal  project which is built around the premise that prison can be an opportunity for transformation. It…
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Latest Funding Information


Slovakia: Active Citizens Fund opens call for proposals in the area of civic participation

On 26 January 2021 the Active Citizens Fund in Slovakia opened a new (third) call for proposals. The fund supports Slovak non-governmental organisations running projects which focus on the involvement of citizens in decision and policy making, with the objectives of good governance, the protection of human rights and the integration of disadvantaged groups, to name but a few.

The main cross-cutting priorities of the call are:

  • Civic participation;
  • Defence of public interests;
  • Human rights;
  • Disadvantaged groups;
  • Development of civil society organisations.

The programme is particularly focused on the improvement of access for marginalised regions and marginalised groups, and on strengthening the inclusion of minorities (including migrants and refugees), including Roma citizens.

Examples of eligible migrant integration activities include research, monitoring, advocacy, awareness raising, capacity building and intercultural dialogue. Projects that develop platforms for communication between minority groups and majority society, as well as various community projects, are also eligible.  

Grant applications must be in the range of EUR 30 000 - EUR 65 000 (total available funding for the call amounts to EUR 416 330), and the duration of the relevant project must be within 12 to 18 months.

The deadline for grant applications is 29 April 2021. Find more details here.


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Portugal: Funding call for intercultural mediators

Portugal's High Commission for Migration is now accepting funding applications for projects that organise intercultural mediation teams and municipal intervention in order to support the integration of migrant and Roma communities.

Applications must be submitted in partnership with a municipality, with the local authority assuming the role of partnership coordinator. Eligible projects have to be based in the North, Centre and Alentejo NUTS II regions.

The financial allocation for this call is EUR 2 500 000, provided by the Operational Programme Social Inclusion and Employment of the European Social Fund (PO ISE). The public share of the eligible expenditure is shared between the European Social Fund (85%) and the national public contribution (15%), with the latter being provided by local authorities.

Applications should be submitted electronically here. The deadline for submission is 17 February 2021.

Find further information in Portuguese here.


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Latest Documents


Housing for Migrants and Refugees in the UNECE Region Challenges and practices

The study on the housing for migration and refugees was conducted in the period 2016-2020 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The report provides a collection of best practices and illustrates that adequate housing both assists migrant integration and helps foster local…
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MINT project: Mentoring methodological framework

The framework document provides guidance to organisations setting up mentoring programmes for the integration of migrant children. The document is delivered by the   Mentoring for integration of third country national children affected by migration (MINT) project , which ran two…
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EU-level report on the status of refugee-led community organisations

The report examines the presence and impact of refugee-led community organisations from the perspective of advocacy targeting primarily the EU institutions.  The document outlines challenges and opportunities to the work of refugee organisations, including in terms of: the need for core…
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Stranger in your own country? Access to citizenship in Denmark

The Danish Institute for Human Rights launched a  report  entitled “ Stranger in your own country? Access to citizenship for children and young people who are born and/or raised in Denmark ”. The institute warns that Danish legislation could be in conflict with human…
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France: La santé mentale des personnes migrantes LGBTI. Inégalités, discriminations, ressources

Cette recherche , réalisée par Grégory BELTRAN et soutenu par l’ ODENORE (Observatoire des non-recours aux droits et services) propose d'aborder la question de la santé mentale des personnes migrantes LGBTI (Lesbiennes, gays, bis, trans, intersexes), et de sa…
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Czech Republic: Strategic goals for language preparation and equal opportunities in 2021-2022

This policy paper provides key stakeholders in education with guidelines for the implementation of the principles of equal opportunity for children and pupils with a migration background. It aims to develop their learning potential and multilingualism while making schools more open, fair and…
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Outcomes Report: Canada-EU Migration Platform on the Integration of Migrant Women

The EU and Canada organised a series of events as part of their  Migration Platform   dedicated to the integration challenges and opportunities faced by migrant women on both sides of the Atlantic.  This outcome report presents a detailed note on the topics covered during the…
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In case you missed it:

The new EU Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion was published at the end of 2020 to guide the EU's work in the field in the years to come. We summarised its key points - watch our short explainer video here.