Proactive Integration of Refugees & Migrants

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Reem Mansour, a seventh year medical student at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In an era of increased globalization, there is a risk of different cultures clashing with each other. Opening up borders between countries didn’t allow us to achieve cohesion or achieve justice. Yet, one possible answer to all this is Proactive Integration.

According to the UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide will surpass 84 million as of mid 2021. Among which, 4.4 million are asylum seekers [1]. This number has increased greatly in the last couple of years.

In 2020, the European Commission recommended taking a comprehensive approach to migration and asylum policies through 3 basic pillars that aim to achieve efficient asylum and return policies, to share responsibility, and to strengthen partnerships with third countries [2]. In other words, revisiting the 1951 convention is proof that the old ways have not been working and new solutions are needed for the millions of migrants and refugees seeking asylum. Yet, the million dollar question is what happens to those displaced after fleeing their country for a chance of a better life and don’t want to go back? How can we integrate millions of refugees and migrants in a country? It is through proactive integration.

Proactive integration is done by working on both sides of the coin. It is done through both training refugees on the basics of living in their new home while still preserving their culture, identity, and rights whilst also preparing the community to accept the high influx of refugees. It is through this way that we are able to achieve a harmonious transition. The core instruments of the International Refugee Law will still be respected and encouraged through this system as the migrants and refugees’ level of attachment to the country of asylum will always be tested.

Proactive integration combines two dimensions; the promotive aspect and the preventative one. It looks forward rather than back and it focuses on modifying laws and seeing how the community perceives them.

As such some of the actions that can be implemented:
> Encourage refugees and migrant workers to apply for jobs.
> Encourage refugees and migrant workers to volunteer in community services.
> Allow refugees and migrant workers to represent the nation in sports and art activities.
> Explain the cultural differences to both parties.
> Raise awareness on the rights of refugees and migrants by highlighting UN- statistics.


About the author

Reem is a seventh year medical student at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. She is the previous National Officer on Human Rights and Peace in the Lebanese Medical Students’ International Committee (LeMSIC) and part of the current Supervising Council. She is especially interested in human rights, ethics and child protection.

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