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PILLAR 1: Participation

We have a voice, we have agency. Let’s change the system together.

As representatives of affected populations, advocates, and service providers, we are political actors, capable, willing, and already contributing to the design,  implementation, and monitoring of public policies. We therefore must be involved in policymaking at all levels.

Policy Actions:

  1. Make sure we have a seat at every table where policies that concern us are being designed, executed, and evaluated.

  2. Actively address key barriers to our participation in decision-making processes, including those linked to resources, advocacy and leadership skills and administrative barriers linked to documents, travel visas and permits.

  3. Facilitate and fund the creation of inclusive self-organized international and national platforms for migrant and refugee participation.

  4. Guarantee political and civil rights of affected populations, in particular in humanitarian responses. This gives us agency and avoids our prolonged dependency on international assistance.

  5. Join our pledge1 for refugee inclusion!


PILLAR 2: Protection

Saving our lives is the top priority and it is consistent with effective management of borders.

Today we are in distress at borders and in transit all across the globe and it is those of us who are most vulnerable who are most affected. We are denied access to basic services and to the right to seek international protection and too often we are criminalized or collectively expulsed. While all governments have the sovereign right to manage those who enter, stay and leave their territories, border management policies always have to be in line with the principles of international law.

Policy Actions:

1. Immediately end border policies that jeopardize the safety and dignity of migrants and that hamper their access to international protection; these harmful policies include encampment, arbitrary expulsions and abuse by border officials.

2. Make saving lives an absolute priority.

3.Stop the detention of children, and their separation from their parents now. Detention of migrants can only be used as a last resort and for the shortest time possible: community-based alternatives exist, work and are more cost-effective.


4.Ensure effective identification and human rights protection of unaccompanied children, women and girls, LGBTI, indigenous people, and those with disabilities. They are at heightened risk of violence and abuse, in particular in mixed migration flows.

5. Immediately end the criminalization of solidarity with us. It closes down an essential helpline and kills migrants and refugees in distress. It also threatens general support for solidarity in society and affects integration efforts.

6.We see a global trend to make returns ‘easier’. While we recognize returns as a durable solution, it must go hand in hand with the availability of safe pathways and must always respect the principle of non-refoulment. In addition, a return may only take place when certain political conditions in the country of return are met, such as safety, peace, and compliance with basic human rights.


PILLAR 3: Pathways

Humans will always be on the move. How we move depends on you.

Some governments restrict access to safe pathways as a deterrence tactic. In practice, this policy does not work. Those who are forced to flee will do so regardless of the risks ahead. Without safe pathways and access to status, however, we will face exploitation, abuse, and harm by unscrupulous employers, border officials, and networks of traffickers and smugglers.

Indirectly, these restrictive policies also create and sustain a market for criminal networks to thrive in.

Policy Actions:

1.Urgently increase resettlement and complementary pathways, including family reunification, community and private sponsorship programs, humanitarian visas, and work and education visas. These should be based on clear and transparent criteria.

2. Share the responsibility fairly to ensure that all countries contribute according to their capacity, as you have committed in the Global Compact on Refugees.

3. Make sure decisions on status are made within the quickest time possible so we can plan our lives and futures and ensure access to longer-term solutions for stay and hereby enable us to not be considered refugees, irregular migrants, or ‘people in need’ indefinitely.

4. Ease the way in which people can move between statuses, and make these steps transparent; this benefits migrants, employers, and society.
5. Mobility should be a right. Can we put into place modalities, at a regional level and beyond, that allow refugees the ability to move to further their goals for self-reliance.


PILLAR 4: Work

Access to decent work is the key for our empowerment and inclusion.

Access to the formal job market of a receiving country is crucial for our participation and inclusion in society. It is also good for business. Our unique experience and background bring innovation and our businesses are important providers of employment. Access to the formal job market also protects us from exploitation and harm in the workplace and allows us to contribute to the tax system.

To DO:

1. Grant work permits from the moment we arrive. We often wait a long time before we receive a decision about our status; let us work in the meantime.

2. Work with the private sector to better match our skills with the labor market.

3. Use labour mobility schemes as an additional pathway across all skill levels to respond to labour market needs in host countries.

4.Invest in skill recognition across all skill levels so that we can practice what we are best at.

5. Invest in vocational training and facilitate our access to all levels of education.


PILLAR 5: Integration is the inclusion

It takes equal partners to shape the community we live in together

The term ‘integration’ has many interpretations. For us, integration means being included as a full member of society. Effective integration policies, therefore, create the conditions for this to happen and do not put the onus of integration on migrants and refugees only.

To Do:

1. Ensure access to basic services for everyone, including access to education. Rather than develop different sets of services depending on someone’s status, you should address existing barriers to access them. This is also the most efficient way of protecting the well-being of all people.

2. Increase our political participation by extending voting rights after a given period of stay and allow for groups to organize collectively.

3. Make language courses easily available and as soon as possible after entry.

4. Work with us, with the media and schools to spread our voice and stories and amplify the work of community and grassroots initiatives that assist us. Aside from the vital services they provide, they strengthen existing goodwill in host communities that must be harnessed.

5. Take strong action against racial profiling, discrimination, and acts of racism and exploitation. They are always harmful for society as a whole.

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