logosbeneficaireserasmusleft_enBetween 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.


The final day of our youth exchange brought to our attention the topic of extremism with the help of a very interesting game and many balloons. The team of facilitators adapted ”The Island” simulation from the All Different, All Equal Education Pack in order to show that differences should be first acknowledged and then accepted, that tolerance and adaptability are key skills and that diversity should be celebrated.

Split into two different tribes, both worshiping balloons the participants took their roles seriously and started looking for a very rare type of balloon which could only be found with a special map. Of course each tribe possessed only half of the map and only by coming together and mending the two halves could the tribes find the balloons. The negotiations were tough and the members of the tribes had to learn the other’s culture in order to be able to communicate with them.

In the debriefing part they talked about how important it had been to stay open and to adapt to the situation by learning the language of the other tribe, sharing their habits and not using violent methods. They discussed about culture, what makes it important and about what brings the cultures into conflict. They reflected on who gains and who loses from a conflict and about the negative and positive consequences of opening up towards other cultures.

Next, the tribes prepared the photo-messages with their most important conclusion.

The day ended with a long evaluation and follow-up session, in which the participants reflected on their learning, filled-in their youth passes and discovered what competences they had developed throughout the week. They also made plans for hosting the travelling exhibition and found out who their secret friend had been.

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logosbeneficaireserasmusleft_enBetween 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.


The third day was full of strong feelings, tears and tense moments as the participants experienced an impactful simulation on the topic of migration. The facilitators adapted the United Nations simulation game ”Passages” and tried to make it as vivid as possibe in order to make the participants experience a tiny bit of what it would be like to be forced to flee your home and head into the unknown.

It all started out very enthusiastically, with everybody smiling and fooling around. Split on families, the participants had to assign names and roles to each member of the family and create their family story. Next they were blinfolded and following a bomb attack on their home town they had to find their family members through the smoke that did not allow them to see anything. The simulation took them through different experiences such as deciding which objects to take in their suitcases, spending the night (around 8 minutes) in a shelter, filling in forms in a language they were not familiar with, being rejected at the border without any explanation, crossing the border illegally, facing the harsh conditions of a refugee camp and finally pleading their case with the authorities to get asylum.

The debriefing phase revealed how powerful the exercise was and many participants spoke about the intensity of the feelings they had, the impact it made on them and the amazement of how little they knew about the experiences some of the refugees go through.

The photos they created stand proof for the powerful messages they felt inside, as they are deep, thought-provoking and trully inspiring.

logosbeneficaireserasmusleft_enBetween 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.


IMG_6799.JPGThe rain tried to be the star of the second day but we managed to keep the focus on climate change, the topic of our simulation. The secret location was revealed first thing in the morning when the participants gathered next to the bus that was going to take us to the Mud Volcanoes.

Unfortunately, we were able to visit the site for only 5 minutes until the rain started. It was a real thunder storm, but we continued to work divided on teams taking shelter and focusing on our learning objectives. The simulation on climate change was inspired by the game “Pacha Mama” and adapted to the context of climate change. The participants were divided in five teams, each representing a certain imaginary country, each of which had some advantages and some disadvantages. The citizens of Vital, Rassas, Activ, Cocoon and Scrib prepared their country’s identity (flag, map, how their life is) on a flip chart and introduced themselves to each other.

 

Then it was time for the Climate Change Olympic Games when they had to go through five games, in which they could use their advantages or see what it feels like to have less chances than the others. It was a very funny activity which challenged everybody to do their part and help their country become the victor of the games.

The next phase was very important, as it invited the participants to debrief the experience they had. This session revealed the injustice of climate change as the countries which contribute the less to the carbon dioxide emissions will be the ones most affected. It also helped the participants reflect on the different scenarios of climate change and the probabilities of each of those happening. They then connected these potential consequences to the state of global peace, realizing the strain the changes in climate would impose on countries which were already overburdened by issues such as poverty, political instability or lack of access to resources.

Finally, the participants gave a visual form to their reflections as they created photo-messages to send to young people living in the present in order to motivate them to take action so that the worst scenarios would never become reality.

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Between 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.


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Our youth exchange has just started and we could not be more excited. Yesterday we have welcomed the delegations here in Buzau and they already started sharing and interacting. The atmosphere was great and they were all eager to get to know each other. Therefore, the first session in the morning got them all together in a big circle in the back yard of our venue where they learnt five ways to greet each other that alien civilizations use (don’t forget that for this youth exchange we traveled forward in time in 2068 where we met aliens of course).

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Then we played some self-regulation games to help the group pay attention and get used to the way the facilitators give instructions.

There were a lot of team building games and games to find out more about each other which really helped with building a nice group atmosphere and helped each participant interact with the other 49 people.

Once inside the facilitators introduced the project and what its aim was and helped the participant explore the ERASMUS+ Programme and the opportunities the European Union programmes offer for young people. We did this interactively of course: voting with our feet, watching videos or taking group quizzes.

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Next, it was time for everybody to reflect on what had brought them there and what they wanted to get from the experience, so hundreds of quotes about learning were laid out on the floor in order to inspire the participants about what learning meant to them. Each of them chose one or two and shared their reasons in small buzz groups, then set their own learning objectives. They also explored the learning process of the Youth Pass and the key competences for life long learning.

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Since they had spent too much time inside, we took them out for a clue-game around the city but not before exploring the exhibition of the town museum and reflecting about the history of peace and the European culture. The clue game was not easy and the participants had to run around the city, discovering interesting place such as an

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Back at venue, we got into small reflection groups and together reflected on our vision of the world 50 years from now and what to do in the present in order to have sustainable peace then.

Tomorrow will bring the first simulation of the exchange: the one climate change, which takes place in a secret location (can you imagine where we will take them?).

This article is part of a series of stories written by the young people who took part at our seminar “A call for peace for all”. They include real life stories of people who left their countries and/or information about migration in one of the European countries where MIJARC Europe has members. All those whose names or any other identification data appear in the articles have given their written consent for making this information public. 


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In the context of the topic chosen for this year by our member movements – peace – we have launched an online campaign of peace messages and quotes under the #nevertakepeaceforgranted slogan. This campaign is part of our work plan which also includes two international activities and a travelling exhibition on the topic of peace. The first international activity of our work plan was preceeded by a preparatory phase during which our members had to interview/discuss with at least two people who had left their countries and are now know as “migrants”, “refugees” or “asylum seekers”. To our members they are just people, as are those living next to us. They have emotional and unusual stories, they live in different conditions but as our participants discovered they have not forgoten to be kind, tolerant, open and to forgive.

Here we bring you the article written by the participants from Bulgaria. The Bu;garia version of the first part of the article can be found below.

Asylum in Bulgaria

Military conflicts in the Middle East and other parts of the world in recent years have led to a significant emigration / refugee wave across Europe, with great force and many issues in Bulgaria. most refugees from Afghanistan, followed by Syria and Iraq. In Bulgaria, asylum seekers are staying in temporary refugee accommodation while waiting for a status decision. According to data in the country about 3,000 asylum seekers are found in refugee camps and a few more are found in foreign addresses. The number of migrants entering the border is much higher, but due to problems with the protection of state borders and the lack of certainty about the country’s policy on this issue, the concrete figures are unclear. The statistics show that more than 60000 people have been seeking state protection since 2013, with the number decreasing since the beginning of 2018, ol 500. The majority of people entering Bulgaria simply want to go through it on their way to Western Europe where they think they will get more security and better living conditions. This shows the statistics, as they themselves say. is approached with the necessary understanding of the refugee problem and most often refers to distrust of the newcomers.

The Bulgarian delegation talked to two refugees who did not accept to disclose any of their personal data, therefore, in the article they will be refer to as X and Y. Both X and Y came to Bulgaria as refugees – X from Afghanistan, and Y- from Syria. Both were running from war and to better life. They faced lots of difficulties during their fight for a new life and fortunately there is a positive effect already caused be government’s policy towards refugees. X, who emigrated to Bulgaria in 2015 has been given a refugee status and already is permitted to work and live in the country alongside Bulgarians. He now works in a big factory for thermo-sensor manufacture and is happy to start a new life. He admits that Bulgarians accept him as their even and opportunities are, on his behalf, yet to come. Y ,on the other side, is a newcomer from Syria going away from war ,who came this year and is still awaiting for a decision towards her status. She hopes that Europe is going to prove as a land of hope and opportunities and war will stay behind her back.


Военните конфликти в Близкия Изток и други части на на света през последните години доведоха до значителна емигрантска/бежанска вълна в цяла Европа ,като това се усети с голяма сила и доведе до много въпроси и в България.По официални данни в нашата страна са потърсили подслон най-много бежанци от Афганистан следван от Сирия и Ирак.В България търсещете убежище пребивават в центрове за временно настаняване на бежанци докато чакат решение за получаване на даден статут. В момента по данни в страната се намират в бежански лагери около 3000 търсещи убежище хора и още няколко стотин от тях се намират на чужди адреси.Неофициално броят на влезлите в границата на държавата мигранти е доста по-голям но поради проблеми със защитата на държавните граници и липса на сигурност относно политикатана държавата по този проблем конкректните цифри са неясни.Статистиката показва че от 2013 година над 60000 лица са потърсили държавна закрила,като последните 2 години броят им намалява като от началото на 2018 година броят им е само около 500.Мнозинството лица влезли в България целят просто да преминат през нея по пътя си към Западна Европа където мислят ,че ще получат повече сигурност и по-добри условия за живот.Това показва статистиката ,както и казват самите те.Българското население също не подхожда с нужното разбиране към бежанския проблем и най-често се отнася с недоверие към новодошлите.

This article is part of a series of stories written by the young people who took part at our seminar “A call for peace for all”. They include real life stories of people who left their countries and/or information about migration in one of the European countries where MIJARC Europe has members. All those whose names or any other identification data appear in the articles have given their written consent for making this information public. 


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In the context of the topic chosen for this year by our member movements – peace – we have launched an online campaign of peace messages and quotes under the #nevertakepeaceforgranted slogan. This campaign is part of our work plan which also includes two international activities and a travelling exhibition on the topic of peace. The first international activity of our work plan was preceeded by a preparatory phase during which our members had to interview/discuss with at least two people who had left their countries and are now know as “migrants”, “refugees” or “asylum seekers”. To our members they are just people, as are those living next to us. They have emotional and unusual stories, they live in different conditions but as our participants discovered they have not forgoten to be kind, tolerant, open and to forgive.

Here we bring you the article written by the participants from Germany. The German version of the article can be found below.

Asylum in Germany

In Germany there are 10.6 million migrants and 18.6 million people with immigrant background. The large part of migrants is coming from European countries like Turkey, Poland and Italy. Also there are 1.6 million refugees who are seeking protection in Germany – most of them coming from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

There are different reasons for migration: refugees are fleeing from war and terror in their country or migrants from other countries are hoping for better living standards for their selves and their families through higher wages or a higher level of education. Refugees are living in reception facilities after coming to Germany. They are distributed through a key system which contributes to an equally number of refugees in all states in Germany.

After their time in these reception facilities they are going to live in a shared accommodation or their own apartment. Also refugees are being supported with activities like German lessons or help with the search for jobs so the transition to daily life is going to be easier for them.


Asyl in Deutschland

In Deutschland leben insgesamt 10,6 Millionen Migranten (Stand: 31.12.2017) und 18,6 Millionen Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund (Stand: 2016). Der Großteil von ihnen stammt aus europäischen Ländern wie z.B. der Türkei, Polen und Italien. Zudem befinden sich 1,6 Millionen Schutzsuchende, von welchen die meisten aus Syrien, Afghanistan und dem Irak eine Zuflucht in Deutschland suchen (Stand: 2016). Die Gründe für die Zuwanderung sind verschiedene – Flüchtlinge suchen in einem sicheren Land Schutz vor Krieg und Terror, welcher in ihrem Heimatland herrscht.

Andere Zuwanderer hoffen sich bessere Lebensbedingungen für sich und ihre Familie erschaffen zu können durch höhere Löhne oder durch bessere Schulbildung. Asylsuchende werden nach ihrer Ankunft und Registrierung in Deutschland in Aufnahmeeinrichtungen aufgenommen in welcher sie kurz- ober auch langfristig untergebracht werden. Schutzsuchende werden in Deutschland durch eine Verteilungsquote den verschiedenen Bundesländern zugewiesen. Diese Verteilungsquote gewährleistet eine gleichmäßige Verteilung der Flüchtlinge in Deutschland.

Nach ihrer Zeit in den Aufnahmeeinrichtungen werden sie in Anschlussunterbringungen gebracht, wie zum Beispiel in Gemeinschaftsunterkünften oder auch in eigenen Wohnungen. Ebenfalls werden sie dabei durch Integrationsmaßnahmen u.a. Deutschunterricht oder auch durch Hilfe bei der Jobsuche unterstützt, damit ihnen der Übergang in das Alltagsleben ermöglicht werden kann.

This article is part of a series of stories written by the young people who took part at our seminar “A call for peace for all”. They include real life stories of people who left their countries and/or information about migration in one of the European countries where MIJARC Europe has members. All those whose names or any other identification data appear in the articles have given their written consent for making this information public. 


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In the context of the topic chosen for this year by our member movements – peace – we have launched an online campaign of peace messages and quotes under the #nevertakepeaceforgranted slogan. This campaign is part of our work plan which also includes two international activities and a travelling exhibition on the topic of peace. The first international activity of our work plan was preceeded by a preparatory phase during which our members had to interview/discuss with at least two people who had left their countries and are now know as “migrants”, “refugees” or “asylum seekers”. To our members they are just people, as are those living next to us. They have emotional and unusual stories, they live in different conditions but as our participants discovered they have not forgoten to be kind, tolerant, open and to forgive.

Here we bring you the article written by the participants from Belgium. The Flamish version of the article can be found below.

Asylum applications in Belgium

In 2017, 19,688 persons filed an asylum application. Of this, the General Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless Persons decided that 13,833 persons needed effective protection. Of these, 76 percent of these people received refugee status. This means that these people have left their country of origin because they fear persecution because of their nationality, race, religion, political opinion or belonging to a particular social group. The remaining 24 percent received subsidiary protection status because if they return to their country of origin there is a real risk of serious damage.

The number of asylum applications in 2017 is comparable to the number of asylum applications in 2016. If we make the comparison with the number of applications in 2015, namely 44,760, the number is much lower. With this, Belgium fulfills its European obligations and it has committed itself to make the same effort in 2018. With this, Belgium participates in the integrated policy of international protection.

If we look at the country of origin of the persons who received the decision to recognize the refugee status, we see that most people came from Syria. The top ten will be completed by Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Somalia, Guinea, Iran, Eritrea, Congo and Palestine.

In Belgium there are 22,152 reception places for persons who submit an asylum application. In June 2018, 15,866 people will be taken care of in one of these places. 49 percent of these people stay here with their families, 36 percent are single men, 6 percent are single women and 9 percent of these persons are unaccompanied minor. No information is available on the reason of departure. (CGRS, 2018, Fedasil, 2018)

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Nazir

*The Belgian delegation had the chance to talk to Nazir who left Afghanistan in 2013, and after a long journey through Europe he arrived in Belgium in 2014. He travelled to Iran, from there to Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Italy, France to end in Belgium. During his travelling, he had often cold, was afraid, had a lot of questions, he didn’t ate much. He travelled on foot, by bus, train, taxi, … In every country there was someone over there that could help him. His uncle paid for the migration to Europe. Which country he would end, was not known. It must be a better and safer country where human rights are important.

Bulgaria was to him the most unfriendly country, they treated him and other Afghans very bad. He also hurt his leg a lot when travelling through Serbia. But because he was illegal in Europe, he wasn’t allowed to go to a doctor by the ‘agents’ who helped him travelling. Finally, in Belgium they could help him. First it looked like Nazir would be send back to Bulgaria, but because he needed an operation in Belgium he could stay here. Now his papers are okay he looks forward to reunite his family here in Belgium. It’s a safe country, with good people who respect the human rights. In Afghanistan, he could have died. He is really grateful for the opportunity his uncle and Belgium gave to him.

Nazir arrived in Belgium in 2014. Before that he traveled a long way from Afghanistan through many countries in Europe, on foot, with a truck, bus, train and tram.

He left Afghanistan in November 2013. His uncle (the brother of his mother) has paid for the whole trip. Several “agents” helped him to continue his journey, he did not have to pay them on the way, sometimes when he wanted (extra) food or drinks on the way.

First he walked five days on foot through the mountains in Iran. “Agents” helped him to continue traveling by car and trucks. They gave the group of refugees very little food and drink. Sometimes they got a small piece of bread, then some tomatoes, … They ate only once a day.

The border with Turkey was crossed on foot overnight. The “agents” said that this was better. It was much too cold to sleep. Nazir wore a coat, but this was too thin in the cold temperatures.

The agents were also strict, saying that everyone should be quiet.

A little later they crossed the Turkish border with some 20 people in a kind of lorry and landed in a city near the border of Turkey.

There was no plan in advance that Nazir would go to. He wanted to go to a country where it was better, where he did not have to fear for his life. A country where people respect human rights, and where he was safe. A country with mutual respect.

In Turkey, the agent bought a bus ticket to Istanbul. With 5 refugees they went to a regular public bus. Each of them received a letter from the agent, with a Turkish text on which they had to write down their name and their destination (Istanbul). This they would then have to give when they got control. Nazir wanted to know what was in the letter, but the agent simply asked them to be quiet.

Finally, the police (or probably a kind of conductors) came to check the bus. Nazir was afraid to give the letter, because he did not know what was in it and if it would be alright. Eventually he did give the letter, and everything was in order for the inspector.

A second check was carried out a second time, asking for IDs, but here too the letter was enough to travel on. Nazir never knew what was in the letter.

Arriving in Istanbul, a man was waiting at the bus to wait for the group of five refugees. Nazir had his doubts, he was not sure if this person was reliable. Eventually they went along with that person. He made sure that they arrived at a building through a taxi ride of about half an hour where they had to go through a door quickly. There Nazir found another 25 or so other refugees, who had already been there for one or two days. These people confirmed that the person who brought them up there was an agent, and Nazir was so reassured.

In total, Nazir spent 4 days in Turkey, of which three together with this group of about 25 people.

Bulgaria would be the next stop after he had asked the agent.

He had to make the journey, walk through woods while it was snowing. It was certainly 12 hours of walking, which was made difficult by the snow. To get warmer he got a jacket from a friend. It was difficult to sleep and he could not eat much either. Since he thought he did not get much or any food on the way, he had paid the agent in Turkey to get a bottle of water and a bag of biscuits. He then had it on the way.

Suddenly they were stopped by police who asked them about their ID. They did not have this. These policemen called other agents, they came with different jeeps. Everyone was arrested and taken to the police station. Then they were taken to a closed institution where they stayed for at least a month. They got very little food there, the police were not respectful either. It seemed more like they were in a prison. The police had also knocked friends of him with a kind of stick to ask to be quiet, even though they did not commit a crime.

Nazir was worried.

Bulgaria was not a good country for him. “Rubbish”. He never wants to go back there.

Then they took fingerprints. And after that he was allowed to travel to Sofia. He heard that that was a big city. There were many other refugees. There he met another agent who knew the other agents who had already helped him during his journey. This man helped him to the next country: Serbia.

Serbia had many hills, where he eventually stumbled heavily. It was very serious. He could not explain exactly what it was, but he probably had torn a ligament on his knee so he could barely stand on his leg. The agent wanted him to hurry, but that did not work. Two other Afghans helped him by supporting him to take the rest of the road (another 3 hours of walking).

He then stayed in Serbia for a month until he could walk again. From there he traveled an hour with the car and then walked another 2 to 3 hours. Fortunately, it was a plain area here. Further to Hungary it was by taxi with 3 others, to a house, where they had to be silent again from the agents. There they were 2 weeks. Nazir was not sure if they were in Hungary, someone had told him that.

Furthermore, the taxi went to Austria. There they were stopped by the police. Nazir was very worried again. The police said they should not worry and took them to the police station for fingerprints. Then they were allowed to go to an open center. There was much more respect for refugees here. He stayed here for one week. Then he came in contact with an agent who had contact with the agent from Turkey. He asked him to stay in the center that day, but then to come to him.

On the way with the agent, there was no mention in the tram. Nazir had to follow the agent in silence and pay attention to signs he would do, for example, to abandon. After the officer’s sign they got off and went to the train station where the agent bought a train ticket for him. From there the journey continued to Italy. Italy was a good and normal country. From Italy it went on to France again, and then Nazir finally ended up in Belgium in 2014. According to the agent, that was a good and safe country.

The agents and other Afghans and an Arab living here helped him to refer to where he could go to request his asylum. Before that he went to Brussels, where they took his fingerprints for the third time. Through the database they knew that he was first registered in Bulgaria (where they first took his fingerprints). According to it He would therefore normally be sent back to Bulgaria in a Dublin agreement. For this there was still a consultation. Meanwhile, Nazir got a shelter in Fedasil, in Brussels he got a train ticket to get there. He spent 1.5 months there. He then received the request to go to the commissariat in Brussels again, but this was not recommended by others if he did not want to return to Bulgaria. They gave the advice to stay illegally in Belgium for 6 months and only then to return again. According to them, the fingerprints would then have been removed from the system or something similar.

Nazir then had many questions. Where did he go during that time for food, shelter, clothes? Someone showed him the way to a church where he could stay for a long time and where everything was free, donated by others.

After 6 months, Nazir then returned to the Brussels office, where he was taken to a center from which the refugees are sent back (in his case back to Bulgaria). There were many other people there who would also be sent back.

He was at his wit’s end and cried, because Bulgaria was a bad country. He did not want to go back there. Two days later he went to the doctor to see his leg that he had seriously injured a long time ago. Now he could have looked at this, earlier could or could not. They were then illegal and were not allowed to be discovered. He still could not use his leg properly.

He told the doctor that he certainly wanted to have his leg healed in Belgium, he was sure that this would not be possible in Bulgaria. They did not have respect for human rights, and in Belgium this was the case.

The doctor did not know what to answer. He sent a message to someone from the migration service. The answer to this was that Nazir could have his leg checked thoroughly. If it is a real problem, he could stay in Belgium. If this is not the case he must return to Bulgaria.

The tests indicated that surgery was needed and a long physiotherapy to recover. For this he had nothing to pay, everything was paid for him even though it was 4,000 euros for the operation alone. Nazir was overjoyed. After the operation, the physiotherapist came to Fedasil for 9 months for exercises for his leg. The assistant in Fedasil received an e-mail from the commissioner that he could submit a new asylum application. He then had to do two more interviews, with ultimately a positive answer. He then had to leave the center. He first received a home from the OCMW of Kortrijk as a temporary solution for a short time. He currently has his own house. He hopes soon to be reunited with his wife and two children aged 4 and 6 years. And he is very grateful for his permission to stay in Belgium.

If he goes back to his homeland now, there is a chance that he might die. He has informed everyone of his family that he has arrived well here, and is really satisfied.


Asielaanvragen in België

In 2017 diende 19.688 personen een asielaanvraag in. Hiervan werd er door het commissariaat-generaal voor de vluchtelingen en staatlozen beslist dat 13.833 personen effectief bescherming nodig hadden. Hiervan kregen 76 procent van deze personen een vluchtelingenstatuut. Dit wil zeggen dat deze personen hun land van herkomst hebben verlaten omdat ze vrezen voor vervolging omwille van hun nationaliteit, ras, religie, politieke overtuiging of het behoren tot een bepaalde sociale groep. De overige 24 procent kregen een subsidiaire beschermingsstatuut omdat indien ze terugkeren naar hun land van herkomst een reëel risico lopen op ernstige schade.

Het aantal asielaanvragen in 2017 is vergelijkbaar met het aantal asielaanvragen in 2016. Als we de vergelijking maken met het aantal aanvragen in 2015, namelijk 44.760 dan ligt het aantal veel lager. Hiermee komt België zijn Europese verplichtingen na en het heeft zich geëngageerd om dezelfde inspanning te doen in 2018. Hiermee werkt België mee aan het geïntegreerd beleid van internationale bescherming.

Als we het land van herkomst bekijken van de personen die de beslissing tot erkenning van het vluchtelingenstatuut ontvingen, zien we dat de meeste personen afkomstig waren uit Syrië. De top tien wordt vervolledigd door Afghanistan, Irak, Turkije, Somalië, Guinee, Iran, Eritrea, Congo en Palestina.

In België zijn er 22.152 opvangplaatsen voor personen die een asielaanvraag indienen. In juni 2018 worden er 15.866 personen opgevangen in één van deze plaatsen. 49 procent van deze personen verblijven hier samen met hun familie, 36 procent is een alleenstaande man, 6 procent is een alleenstaande vrouw en 9 procent van deze personen is een niet begeleide minderjarige. Over de reden van vertrek is geen informatie beschikbaar. (CGVS, 2018; Fedasil, 2018)

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Nazir

Nazir kwam in 2014 in België aan. Daarvoor heeft hij een lange weg afgelegd vanuit Afghanistan doorheen vele landen in Europa, te voet, met een vrachtwagen, bus, trein en tram.

In november 2013 is hij vertrokken uit Afghanistan. Zijn nonkel (de broer van zijn moeder) heeft de hele reis bekostigd. Verschillende “agenten” hielpen hem zijn reis verder te zetten, onderweg moest hij hen niet betalen, wel soms als hij (extra) eten of drinken wou voor onderweg.

Eerst heeft hij vijf dagen te voet door de bergen in Iran gewandeld. “Agenten” hielpen hem met auto en vrachtauto’s verder te reizen. Zij gaven de groep vluchtelingen heel weinig eten en drinken. Soms kregen ze een klein stuk brood, dan eens wat tomaten, … Ze aten slechts een keer per dag.

De grens met Turkije werd ’s nachts te voet overgestoken. De “agenten” zeiden dat dit beter was. Het was er wel veel te koud om te slapen. Nazir droeg dan wel een jas, maar dit was veel te dun in de koude temperaturen.

De agenten waren ook streng, zeiden dat iedereen stil moesten zijn.

Wat later staken ze dan met een stuk of 20 personen in een soort vrachtauto de Turkse grens over en belandden zij in een stad bij de grens van Turkije.

Op voorhand was er geen plan waar Nazir heen zou gaan. Hij wou naar een land gaan waar het beter was, waar hij niet hoefde te vrezen voor zijn leven. Een land waar men de mensenrechten respecteert, en waar hij veilig was. Een land met wederzijds respect.

In Turkije kocht de agent een busticket naar Istanboel. Met 5 vluchtelingen gingen ze op een gewone publieke bus zitten. Elk van hen kreeg een brief mee van de agent, met een Turkse tekst op waar ze hun naam en hun bestemming (Istanboel) op moesten noteren. Dit zouden ze dan moeten afgeven wanneer zij controle kregen. Nazir wou graag weten wat er in de brief stond, maar de agent vroeg hen gewoon om stil te zijn.

Uiteindelijk kwam politie (of waarschijnlijk een soort conducteurs) de bus controleren. Nazir was bang om de brief af te geven, want hij wist niet wat er in stond en of het in orde zou zijn. Uiteindelijk gaf hij dan wel de brief, en was alles in orde voor de controleur.

Er werd later nog een tweede keer een controle uitgevoerd waarbij men vroeg naar ID’s, maar ook hier was de brief voldoende om verder te reizen. Nazir heeft nooit geweten wat er in de brief stond.

Aangekomen in Istanboel, stond er een man klaar aan de bus om het groepje van vijf vluchtelingen op te wachten. Nazir had zo zijn twijfels, hij wist niet zeker of deze persoon wel betrouwbaar was. Uiteindelijk gingen ze toch mee met die persoon. Hij zorgde dat ze via een taxirit van ongeveer een half uur toekwamen aan een gebouw waar ze snel door een deur moesten gaan. Daar trof Nazir nog een stuk of 25 andere vluchtelingen aan, die daar al één of twee dagen aanwezig waren. Deze mensen bevestigden dat de persoon die hen tot daar gebracht had een agent was, en Nazir was zo gerustgesteld.

In totaal verbleef Nazir zo’n 4 dagen in Turkije, waarvan drie samen met deze groep van een 25-tal mensen.

Bulgarije zou de volgende stop worden, nadat hij dit gevraagd had aan de agent.

Hij moest om de reis te maken, door bossen lopen terwijl het aan het sneeuwen was. Het was zeker 12 uur wandelen, wat bemoeilijkt werd door de sneeuw. Om het warmer te krijgen kreeg hij een jas van een vriend. Het was er moeilijk slapen en hij kon ook niet veel eten. Aangezien hij dacht niet veel of geen eten te krijgen voor onderweg had hij de agent betaald in Turkije om een fles water en een zak biscuits te halen. Deze had hij dan mee voor onderweg.

Plots werden ze gestopt door politie die hen vroeg naar hun ID. Dit hadden ze niet bij. Deze politiemannen belden dan andere agenten op, zij kwamen toe met verschillende jeeps. Iedereen werd opgepakt en naar het politiekantoor gebracht. Daarna werden zij naar een gesloten instelling gebracht waar zij minstens een maand verbleven. Ze kregen daar zeer weinig eten, de politie was ook niet respectvol. Het leek meer alsof ze in een gevangenis zaten. De politie had ook vrienden van hem geslagen met een soort stok om te vragen om stil te zijn, ook al deden zij geen misdaad.

Nazir was bezorgd.

Bulgarije was geen goed land voor hem. “Rubbish”. Hij wil daar nooit meer terug.

Dan namen ze vingerafdrukken. En daarna mocht hij doorreizen naar Sofia. Hij hoorde dat dat een grote stad was. Er waren veel andere vluchtelingen. Daar ontmoette hij weer een agent die de andere agenten kende die hem reeds geholpen hadden tijdens zijn reis. Deze man hielp hem naar het volgende land: Servië.

Servië had vele heuvels, waar hij uiteindelijk zwaar gestruikeld was. Het was heel ernstig. Hij kon niet precies uitleggen wat het precies was, maar hij had waarschijnlijk een ligament aan zijn knie gescheurd waardoor hij amper op zijn been kon staan. De agent wou dat hij zich haastte, maar dat ging niet. Twee andere Afghanen hebben hem geholpen door hem te ondersteunen om de rest van de weg (nog 3 uur wandelen) af te leggen.

Hij is daarna een maand in Servië gebleven tot hij weer wat kon wandelen. Van daaruit heeft hij een uur met de auto gereisd en dan nog 2 à 3 uur gewandeld. Gelukkig was het hier een effen gebied. Verder naar Hongarije ging het met de taxi met nog 3 anderen, naar een huis, waar ze opnieuw stil moesten zijn van de agenten. Daar waren zij 2 weken. Nazir was zelf niet zeker of ze wel degelijk in Hongarije waren, iemand had hem dat verteld.

Verder ging het met de taxi naar Oostenrijk. Daar werden ze tegengehouden door de politie. Nazir was opnieuw erg bezorgd. De politie zei dat ze zich geen zorgen moesten maken en nam hen mee naar het politiekantoor voor vingerafdrukken. Daarna mochten ze naar een open centrum. Er was hier veel meer respect voor vluchtelingen. Hier verbleef hij één week. Daarna kwam hij weer in contact met een agent die contact had met de agent uit Turkije. Deze vroeg hem om die dag nog in het centrum te blijven, maar daarna naar hem te komen.

Onderweg met de agent mocht er in de tram niet gesproken worden. Nazir moest de agent zwijgend volgen en letten op tekens die hij zou doen om bijvoorbeeld af te stappen. Na het teken van de agent stapten zij af en gingen naar het treinstation waar de agent een treinkaart kocht voor hem. Van daaruit ging de reis verder naar Italië. Italië was een goed en normaal land. Van Italië ging het weer door naar Frankrijk, en daarna kwam Nazir uiteindelijk in 2014 in België terecht. Dat was volgens de agent een goed en veilig land.

De agenten en andere Afghanen en een Arabier die hier woonden hielpen hem met het doorverwijzen waar hij terecht kon om zijn asiel aan te vragen. Daarvoor ging hij naar Brussel, waar ze voor de derde keer zijn vingerafdrukken namen. Via de databank wisten zij dat hij voor het eerst geregistreerd was in Bulgarije (waar ze het eerst zijn vingerafdrukken namen). Volgens het Dublinakkoord zou hij dus normaal gezien terug naar Bulgarije gezonden worden. Hiervoor werd er nog een overleg gepleegd. Ondertussen kreeg Nazir een onderkomen in Fedasil, in Brussel kreeg hij een treinticket om er te geraken. Daar verbleef hij 1,5 maand. Hij kreeg dan het verzoek om opnieuw naar het commissariaat in Brussel te gaan, maar dit werd door anderen afgeraden als hij niet terug naar Bulgarije wou keren. Ze gaven het advies om 6 maanden illegaal in België te verblijven en daarna pas nog eens terug te keren. De vingerafdrukken zouden volgens hen dan uit het systeem gehaald zijn of iets dergelijks.

Nazir had dan wel veel vragen. Waar moest hij gedurende die tijd terecht voor eten, een onderdak, kleren? Iemand toonde hem de weg naar een kerk waar hij gedurende lange tijd mocht verblijven en waar alles gratis was, gedoneerd door anderen.

Na 6 maanden keerde Nazir dan terug naar het kantoor in Brussel, waar hij toch werd meegenomen naar een centrum van waaruit men de vluchtelingen terug stuurt (in zijn geval dus terug naar Bulgarije). Er waren daar nog vele andere mensen aanwezig die ook teruggestuurd zouden worden.

Hij was ten einde raad en huilde, want Bulgarije was een slecht land. Hij wou er absoluut niet terug heen. Twee dagen later ging hij langs bij de dokter om eens zijn been te laten bekijken dat hij een hele tijd geleden ernstig geblesseerd had. Nu kon hij hier wel naar laten kijken, vroeger kon of mocht dat niet. Ze waren toen namelijk illegaal en mochten niet ontdekt worden. Hij kon nog steeds niet goed zijn been gebruiken.

Tegen de dokter vertelde hij dat hij zeker zijn been wilde laten genezen in België, hij was er zeker van dat dit in Bulgarije niet mogelijk zou zijn. Daar hadden ze namelijk geen respect voor de mensenrechten en in België was dit wel het geval.

De dokter wist niet wat te antwoorden. Hij stuurde hiervoor een bericht naar iemand van de migratiedienst. Het antwoord hierop was dat Nazir zijn been grondig mocht laten checken. Indien het een echt probleem is, mocht hij in België blijven. Is dit niet het geval moet hij terug naar Bulgarije.

De tests wezen uit dat er een operatie nodig was en een lange kinesitherapie om te herstellen. Hiervoor diende hij niets te betalen, alles werd voor hem betaald ook al was het 4.000 euro voor de operatie alleen. Nazir was dolgelukkig. Na de operatie kwam de kinesist nog 9 maanden langs bij Fedasil voor oefeningen voor zijn been. De assistent in Fedasil kreeg een e-mail van het commissariaat dat hij een nieuwe asielaanvraag mocht indienen. Hij heeft dan nog twee interviews moeten doen, met uiteindelijk een positief antwoord. Hierop moest hij dan wel het centrum verlaten. Hij kreeg eerst voor een korte tijd een huis van het OCMW van Kortrijk als tijdelijke oplossing. Momenteel heeft hij nu zijn eigen huis. Hij hoopt binnenkort terug verenigd te worden met zijn vrouw en twee kinderen van 4 en 6 jaar. En hij is heel erg dankbaar voor zijn toelating om in België te mogen blijven.

Mocht hij nu terug naar zijn thuisland gaan, is er een kans dat hij zou kunnen sterven. Hij heeft iedereen van zijn familie op de hoogte gebracht dat hij hier goed is aangekomen, en is echt tevreden.

This article is part of a series of stories written by the young people who took part at our seminar “A call for peace for all”. They include real life stories of people who left their countries and/or information about migration in one of the European countries where MIJARC Europe has members. All those whose names or any other identification data appear in the articles have given their written consent for making this information public. 


In the context of the topic chosen for this year by our member movements – peace – we have launched an online campaign of peace messages and quotes under the #nevertakepeaceforgranted slogan. This campaign is part of our work plan which also includes two international activities and a travelling exhibition on the topic of peace. The first international activity of our work plan was preceeded by a preparatory phase during which our members had to interview/discuss with at least two people who had left their countries and are now know as “migrants”, “refugees” or “asylum seekers”. To our members they are just people, as are those living next to us. They have emotional and unusual stories, they live in different conditions but as our participants discovered they have not forgoten to be kind, tolerant, open and to forgive.

Here we bring you the article written by the participants from Armenia.

Article written by:

Armine Movsesyan
Seda Mkrtchyan
Yeghiazaryan Diana

Being considered as the worst humanitarian crisis of nowadays, the Syrian refugee crisis is one of the major and complex issues in the world. According to Armenian officials, more than 22,000 Syrians have been forced to leave their homes and come to their ancestral homeland since the start of the conflict in 2011. By 2015, the United Nations refugee agency said Syrian refugees accounted for six of every 1,000 people in Armenia.
Currently, Syrian Armenians have various legal statuses in Armenia, including Armenian citizens (dual citizens), refugees, asylum seekers, and persons with temporary or permanent residence (one/five/ten years). According to the Armenian Ministry of Diaspora a total of 10,707 people received citizenship in the period of 2012-2014. Refugee and asylum seekers comprise a smaller number, around 700-800 Syrian-Armenians, for the period of 2012-2013.

According to the Migration Service of Armenia: 236 people were granted asylum, of which 136 provided with shelter. Considering the regional developments and multiple challenges Armenia faces today, the need for a relevant infrastructure to address the social and economic issues of Syrian-Armenians becomes extremely urgent.

The arrivals are still ongoing (86 persons in 2017). It should be noted that Armenia also hosts refugees and asylum-seekers from Iraq, Ukraine and Iran and smaller numbers of refugees from some African countries. Moreover, about 600 of the persons displaced in consequence of the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April 2016 remain in Armenia and have been now integrated into the general assistance and integration activities.
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We were pleased to have a talk with Ramella Khanoyan, who left her home in Aleppo, Syria and came back to Armenia during the war.

FYCA-Ramella Khanoyan.jpg
Ramella Khanoyan

“I arrived in Armenia with my family several years ago. I was 11 years old, when the war began. At first, I couldn’t believe that it was a reality. The first shock happened in March 2011, when I was going to take part in a dancing concert in Aleppo. I had waited for that concert so much. It was one of my biggest dreams to participate in it. We were practicing at the hall with my friends and tutors, when suddenly the first bomb exploded. At first we couldn’t imagine that a war started. We felt like unconscious people, but in a few minutes realized that it is not a dream. We escaped from there, and everything got cancelled. Afterwards, similar attacks occurred and I started getting used to it. I have lost a lot of acquaintances, friends and neighbors day by day. The situation gradually became worse and worse, and my parents made a decision to abandon. I remember how frightening it was our way to the airport. We took a taxi, can’t remember how luckily passed the border and immediately went to Damaskos. It is a pity, that we left our childhood, friends, memories there in Aleppo. But anyway, I would never leave my homeland and go back. Armenia is the only place, that I should live in. There is no place like HOME”.

This article is part of a series of stories written by the young people who took part at our seminar “A call for peace for all”. They include real life stories of people who left their countries and/or information about migration in one of the European countries where MIJARC Europe has members. All those whose names or any other identification data appear in the articles have given their written consent for making this information public. 


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In the context of the topic chosen for this year by our member movements – peace – we have launched an online campaign of peace messages and quotes under the #nevertakepeaceforgranted slogan. This campaign is part of our work plan which also includes two international activities and a travelling exhibition on the topic of peace. The first international activity of our work plan was preceeded by a preparatory phase during which our members had to interview/discuss with at least two people who had left their countries and are now know as “migrants”, “refugees” or “asylum seekers”. To our members they are just people, as are those living next to us. They have emotional and unusual stories, they live in different conditions but as our participants discovered they have not forgoten to be kind, tolerant, open and to forgive.

Here we bring you the article written by the participants from Romania. The Romanian version of the article can be found below.

f9.jpgAn article written by:

Ivan Emilia Iuliana

Neagu Sara Georgiana

Vlădulescu Cristian Giovani

We are Emilia, Sara and Cristian. In the year 2018 we undertook the mission to overcome the barriers of indifference developed by the collective spirit of the last decades and to penetrate, inspired by the moral and social values ​​of MIJARC Europe, in the world of the least listened.

We put our microphones, cameras, mind and soul beside them, and listened to their stories, I stared at them. Among the key tools that facilitated this road were patience, understanding, solidarity, empathy, and an unwavering psychological force. Although we have prepared to equip them from the start, we recognize that we have had some surprises. At both the beginning and the end, I realized that I needed courage. The courage to accept that we, in front of them, are strangers. Aliens are not so much the country and their language, as foreigners of life experience, strangers of a tortured livelihood, strangers of sacrifice, strangers of suffering. However, the people we discussed with were very open, warm and sincere. They talked to us kindly, they smiled parents and treated us in the purest form, just as they treated their family members. The joy we received with these emotions was unbounded for us, and the feeling itself was overwhelming.

Finally, we can add that we have not only developed a sense of great empathy, but we have understood and how blessed we are that we have been born ordinary citizens, in common, citizens of a country exempt from sacrifice and pain.


Un articol scris de:

Ivan Emilia Iuliana

Neagu Sara Georgiana

Vlădulescu Cristian Giovani

Noi suntem sunt Emilia, Sara și Cristian. În anul lui 2018 ne-am asumat misiunea de a depăși barierele nepăsării dezvoltate de spiritul colectiv al ultimelor decenii și de a pătrunde, impulsionați de valorile morale și sociale ale MIJARC Europe, în lumea celor mai puțin ascultați.

Ne-am pus microfoanele, camerele de filmat, mintea și sufletul lângă ei și le-am ascultat poveștile, i-am privit în suflet. Printre instrumentele-cheie care au facilitat acest drum s-au numărat răbdarea, înțelegerea, solidaritatea, empatia și o forță psihologică de neclintit. Deși ne-am pregătit pentru echiparea cu acestea încă de la început, recunoaştem am avut parte de câteva surprize. Atât la început, cît și la sfârșit, am realizat că aveam nevoie și de curaj. Curajul de a accepta că noi, în fața lor, suntem niște străini. Străini nu atât de țara și de limba lor, cît străini de experiență de viață, străini de un trai chinuitor, străini de sacrificu, străini de suferință. Cu toate acestea, persoanele cu care am discutat au fost foarte deschise, calde și sincere. Ne-au vorbit cu bunătate, ne-au zâmbit părintește și ne-au tratat în cea mai pură formă, la fel cum îi tratează pe membrii familiei lor. Bucuria cu care am primit aceste emoții din partea lor a fost, pentru noi, nemărginită, iar sentimentul în sine a fost copleșitor.

În final, putem adăuga că am reușit nu doar să dezvoltăm un simț al empatiei foarte puternic, dar am înțeles și  cât de binecuvântați suntem că ne-am născut cetățeni obișnuiți, de rând, cetățeni ai unei țări scutite de sacrificiu și durere.

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Photo by Nick Schumacher on Unsplash

Nowadays 1,8 billion people leave in conflict affected areas and 244 million people have been displaced due to conflictual contexts.[1] The Global Peace Index of 2017, showed us that the global peacefulness has deteriorated by 2.14 per cent since 2008[2]. With ongoing conflicts in Myanmar, Syria, Iran, Colombia, Somalia- just to mention a few, we see not only a need for an immediate action to deter the conflicts but also the need to prevent conflicts. There is not a magic formula that can insure that conflicts can be prevented, as various factors need to be considered: social, political and climate context, history of the state, economic trends, access to resources, accessibility of the population to education etc., however, we can all agree that investments in military sectors rather than peace building (under 10 billion dollars[3]) it is not the answer we need.

In the last years, we have come to understand that peace[4]– in the sense of the absence of war/ violent conflict known as Negative Peace- it is not necessary sustainable, however, peace which includes development and growth opportunities has a higher possibility of being sustainable. The dependency between peace and development is known as Positive Peace-  “the integration of human society” in the words of John Galtung. The Institute for Economics and Peace[5] identified eight pillars of positive peace which are yearly measured per country: 1) A Well-Functioning Government; 2) Sound Business Environment; 3) Equitable Distribution of Resources; 4) Equitable Distribution of Resources; 5) Acceptance of the rights of others; 6) Good Relations with Neighbors;  7) Free Flow of Information; 8)High Levels of Human Capital and 9)Low levels of Corruption.

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Although achieving high levels of development per each pillar may seem a long and hard process, each and every one of us, can contribute towards the improvement of the fifth pillar: Acceptance of the rights of others. In this sense, non-formal education methods and opportunities- offered by programmes such as Erasmus + and EYF- to exchange  with people from other cultures, social backgrounds, different religions help increase tolerance, knowledge and understanding of the realities in other countries, play a major role in shaping perceptions and eliminating discrimination. Especially at the level of youth, international non-governmental organizations have been engaging young people in exchanges on different topics, inspiring them to be informed, to participate actively at local and international level. Young people are sources of incredible power that can add value and knowledge to so many fields, peace being one of these fields- young people have developed and implemented a series of activities that promote peace, for instance: developing an interactive map of peace agents – http://www.tgpcloud.org/p4p/index.php?m=youth ; training of youth able to mobilize a larger number of other young people 32 622- Youth Initiatives for Peace and Reconciliation project or PATRIR’s EduPace club. These are examples of actions that we can all promote, actively participate in and become agents of positive change and peacebuilding.

And you, what are you doing today, for a peaceful tomorrow?

Article written by Alexandra SOLOMON
European Secretary

[1] Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, Speech at UNLEASH Awards Ceremony; available at: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/speeches/2017/08/21/achim-steiner-undp-administrator-speech-at-unleash-awards-ceremony.html
[2] Institute for Economics and Peace, Global Peace Index 2017
[3] Idem 2
[4] Distinction made by John Galtung in “ Violence, Peace, and Peace Research” 1969
[5] Institute for Economics and Peace,  POSITIVE PEACE REPORT 2017, pg. 9