International Organization for Migration (IOM) as the coordinator of the EMN in Slovakia organized third edition of the EMN education seminar entitled Forced Migration – Causes and Possible Solutions. The seminar was held in Bratislava on 19 – 21 August 2014 and focused on the following topics: causes of contemporary displacement and current situation with regard to forced migration, asylum and other forms of international protection globally and in the EU, resettlement as a vital tool of international protection, and refugee hotspots in the Mediterranean region.
Among 12 speakers were Slovak and foreign experts from renowned universities, governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as international organizations from Bratislava, Budapest, Innsbruck, Brussels, Geneva, London and Rome. The seminar was attended by almost 60 participants coming from the state administration, third sector and academia and embassies.
During the seminar’s first day the issue of forced migration and causes of contemporary displacement in the world was introduced by Caroline Van Buren from the UNHCR Regional Representation for Central Europe in Budapest. Professor of International Law at the University of Eötvös Loránd and Central European University, Boldiszár Nagy, then discussed the reasons for protection of refugees from the global and EU perspectives as well as their relevance in the context of growing pressure to tighten immigration controls. New migratory trends in the Mediterranean were analysed by José Angel Oropeza, Director of IOM Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean and Head of IOM Mission for Italy and Malta. The situation Mediterranean was further elaborated by Gilles Reckinger, Professor of Intercultural Communication and Risk Research at the University of Innsbruck, who presented the developments on the Lampedusa island also from the perspective of local population.
On the next day, the guest speakers dealt with humanitarian operations, resettlement and environmental migration. Representative of IOM Regional Office for the European Economic Area and NATO in Brussels, Jo De Backer, focused on IOM’s humanitarian operations carried out in response to conflicts and crises. Afterwards, Caroline Van Buren from UNHCR spoke about life in and management of the world’s largest refugee camps using a Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan as a case study. Resettlement as one of the most important tools of international protection was addressed by Michael Gray, Chief of Resettlement and Movement Management Division at IOM Headquarters in Geneva. As a follow up to the topic, Zuzana Vatráľová, Head of the IOM Office in the Slovak Republic, presented the resettlement programme through Slovakia as well as the Emergency Transit Centre in Humenné. In the last session aimed at environmentally-induced migration, François Gemenne, international expert on environmental geopolitics lecturing at various prominent universities in France and Belgium, introduced the issue of environmental migration and its different perceptions among scholars and policymakers. Interlinkages between migration and climate change as well as ways to help and protect environmental migrants were further analyzed by Alexander Randall from the British non-governmental organization Climate Outreach and Information Network.
The last day of the seminar was devoted to the international protection system in the Slovak Republic. After screening of a Slovak documentary People Just Like Us: Right to Asylum – Right to Life about refugees in Slovakia Miroslava Vozáryová from the Comenius University in Bratislava held a presentation on Slovak asylum law also in the context of European and international asylum law. Director of the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, Bernard Priecel, added information about providing international protection in Slovakia as well as about Slovak asylum facilities. The seminar was ended with a presentation of the outcomes of the EMN Synthesis Report Organisation of Asylum Facilities in Different EU Member States by Sheila Maas from ICF International (EMN Service Provider).
Accompanying programme of the seminar was the public EMN Discussion Evening titled People Forced to Flee which included screening of the documentary film Refugees: Who needs them? The film depicted the one-year story of four migrants – Fathi from Libya, Fasil from Ethiopia, Li Zhu from China and Renuka from Bhutan – who were forced to leave their homes. The screening was followed by a discussion with international experts Caroline Van Buren (UNHCR Regional Representation for Central Europe in Budapest), Michael Gray (IOM Geneva) and José Angel Oropeza (IOM Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean) about forced migration, its causes, refugees and possibilities to help.
What is EMN educational seminar?
The EMN educational seminar’s overall objective is to provide professionals working in the state institutions, non-governmental sector, research bodies or other relevant organisations with comprehensive and up-to-date information on migration issues and thus contribute to policymaking process in Slovakia. The seminar also aims to create a unique learning platform about migration in Slovakia and foster networking, experience sharing and discussions among (inter)national experts and participants. Every edition of the EMN educational seminar deals with specific migration related areas (find out more about the 2012 and 2013 seminar).
Photogallery of the meeting
Seminar materials and presentations for download
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EMN Educational Seminar Materials 2014 (1,45 MB)