As part of its on-going activities on the promotion of refugee rights, ELS collaborated in a weekend awareness raising campaign that was organised by UNHCR’s Telling the Real Story (TRS) project. The campaign took place in Geneva (Novetel Geneva Centre) on Saturday, 28 October 2017.
UNHCR’s TRS project focuses on telling the real stories of Eritrean and Somali refugees, who have made the perilous journey to Europe, through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, by way of creating a platform to share their experience with a community of fellow survivors. The aim is that of sending the most accurate information to people who are planning to embark on the most dangerous route to Europe. The information is disseminated, among other things, via audio-visual testimonies of people who have made the perilous journey to Europe. Information gathered in this way is also used in raising broader awareness within Eritrean and Somali diaspora communities. Saturday’s event, which also addressed the role of diaspora actors in irregular migration/movement, was one such example.
At the event, ELS gave a briefing to participants on the topic of international and national asylum laws, with particular focus on the asylum protection system in Switzerland. Other speakers from Eritrean diaspora grassroots movements in Switzerland also provided information about similar topics, including the challenges of integration faced by Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers in Switzerland. The event also featured a speech by Father Mussie Zerai, passionately known as “the father of refugees.” He spoke on the overall situation of Eritrean refugees in Africa and in Europe, and the changing migration policies of European countries towards Eritreans and other African refugees. A partial live broadcast of the event is available from the Facebook (Tigrinya) page of UNHCR’s TRS project: https://goo.gl/4Pmbjf.