First conference organized by refugee and migrant activists to advocate for their rights held in Zagreb


The first National Conference on the Promotion of the Rights of Migrants and Refugees in Croatia was held at the Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday 7.12., a conference that was designed, implemented and led by migrant and refugee activists: human rights advocates, and integration experts. The activists were supported in preparations and logistics by the Centre for Peace Studies as part of the European project 2incING, designed with the aim of strengthening the advocacy capacities of refugees and migrants.

The conference was divided into two parts – in the morning session, four world cafe tables were held with topics identified by the activists as the main advocacy areas where people encounter the most barriers. These were the topics of barriers in education, led by Semih Adiguzel and Fadzai Musakama, issues of accessing employment, led by Yusuf Yalsiz and Nawar Ghanim, problems of the health care system, led by Salam al-Nidawi and Abdoulie Jobe, and status and visa issues, led by Hamidat Oladayo Hassan and Mohammad Shafi Rassa. Representatives of various state institutions and cities, local residents, representatives of associations, research institutes, as well as other refugees and migrants actively participated in the world cafe sessions, and they worked together on proposals for policy and procedure solutions that could solve the presented problems. Some of the main problems highlighted were the absence of a quality and sustainable Croatian language course, the lack of student rights for foreign students, the problems of non-recognition of foreign diplomas and difficult access to additional qualification programs, the difficulties of enrolling refugees in the information health system and the lack of translators in health services, and finally the lack of consular representations and the issue of long-term acquisition of permanent residence.

In the afternoon part of the conference, the main problems, as well as recommendations for policy changes from the morning sessions, were presented through a panel of our activists who were joined by guests Lynder Musimbi Libese and Safaa Salem, who both shared personal stories and recommendations, and also a representative of the Nepalese community in Zagreb, Sunil Bam, who described some of the problems faced by migrant workers in Croatia.

The conference was organized according to the model and in cooperation with the refugee-led G-100 initiative under the leadership of the Diaspora Network Alliance, which organizes a series of G100 conferences led by refugees in different countries of Europe, and one of the representatives of the G-100 initiative, Ayham Saif, was also one of the guests of the conference in Croatia.

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