On the 23rd of October 2018, Time for Equality in collaboration with Rotondes Luxembourg hosted the first event of the season entitled Expressions of Humanity – What kind of world do we want to live in?. The Journey of a Migrant is the first of series of discussions which will take place over the coming months that aim to tackle and highlight the pertinent issues relating migration, the current global refugee crisis and the response of our societies.
The evening included two speakers, namely Paul Delaunois, general director of Médecins Sans Frontières, Luxembourg and Aleksandra Melesko, former legal secretary at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Mr. Delaunois gave a most insightful presentation on the current global migrant crisis, in which he urged those attending to think about the modern conception of migrant, and how it differs depending on the context, he himself from Belgium suggested he too was a migrant, and merely the color of his passport allowed him to access to a good quality of life. Indeed Mr. Delaunois illustrated his point quite aptly when he suggested that the current crisis need not be defined by its universally recognized title, but instead as a “crisis of welcoming”. He then continued his discussion in a more statistical manner, by breaking the numbers down in order to give those attending the event an accurate assessment of the issues at hand.
Finally Mr. Delaunois gave a brief overview of the kind of work Médecins Sans Frontières do in the context of the modern migrant crisis, his sentiments regarding the state of affairs in Greek refugee camps were most impactful, as he showed the words used by Dr. Declan Barry lead medical coordinator in Greece,
“These children come from countries in war, where they have experienced very extreme violence and trauma. Rather than receiving care and protection in Europe, they are instead subjected to ongoing fear, stress and episodes of further violence, including sexual violence,” “Moreover, the environment is unsafe and unsanitary, and as a result we see many cases of recurrent diarrhoea and skin infections in children of all ages. At this level of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions, the risk of outbreaks is very high”.
The second speaker on the evening was Ms. Aleksandra Melesko, she spoke briefly on role of the European Court of Justice in context of the protection of migrant’s rights, her presentation focused of three themes, human dignity, missed opportunities and family reuniting. She explained quite aptly through the use of recent European court of justice rulings, how the judicial bodies within the EU work daily to ensure the rights of migrants are upheld. She finished her discussion by encouraging those in attendance to recognize the influential role of the ECJ.
The evening was not all about speeches though, the event drew to a close in the most splendid fashion with Maltese writer and poet Antoine Cassar recited his poem ‘Passaport’, while ‘Ports of Italy: Stories of sea and land‘ is a project by musicians Massimo Donno, with guitar and vocals, and accordion player Alessandro D’Alessandro. Continuing in a creative spirit, a concert exploring the concepts of departure was performed. The gentle tones of the guitar accompanied by the accordion conveyed a sense belonging while asking listeners to consider the metaphor of departure used throughout the musical piece. The evening was given a stirring end, as Antoine cast his passport toward the audience as symbolic gesture, leaving the audience to ponder a world with boarders and passports.
The event was co-organised with the French association Walking in the Streets’ Essence (WISE). 5o% of the tickets sale will be donated to WISE to support its humanitarian assistance to exiles in Dunkirk.
Photos: Raoul Somers
EXPRESSIONS OF HUMANITY – What kind of world do we want to live in?
Save the dates:
23 October 2018 : The journey of a migrant continued
12 February 2019 : Empowering women in Guatemala. Maya cultural heritage and the art of weaving.
20 March 2019: La juge. Une femme dans la magistrature
26 June 2019: Facing the truth – Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW)
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Arron Mc Ardle
I am a legal researcher and writer with a passion for the delineation and dissemination of global human rights issues.