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Tens of millions of people around the globe have been forcibly displaced by conflict, natural disaster, or persecution, seeking refuge either within or beyond the borders of their country. Humanitarian protection, whether for refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced persons, represents a key policy area for many major immigrant-receiving countries as well as nations bordering locations where war, political upheaval, or natural disaster have disrupted daily life.
Large-scale immigration from culturally diverse countries of origin, even when successful in economic terms, may affect a society’s social capital and the host population’s sense of cultural and national identity along with their attitudes to immigrants and immigration policy. It is now necessary to develop new and, above all, common strategies to address the migration flows to Europe and beyond.
The Mahalla festival has shown the following needs:
- Distribute the responsibility for migrants more equitably
- Extending legal immigration from non-EU Member States into EU member states
The EU and its member states should do more to fulfill their moral and legal responsibility (under the 1951 Refugee Convention) to protect refugees worldwide. They should work toward partnerships for migrants that involve increased financial support by the EU (and other donors) to offset the fiscal cost of hosting refugees, combined with a commitment by host countries to grant a secure legal status to refugees and promote their social integration.
While working to close the ‘back door’ of irregular immigration into the EU, EU member states should further open the ‘front door’ of legal labor migration by creating more legal employment opportunities for non-EU citizens.
This would be in addition to opening the front door by resettling some refugees from non-EU countries in EU member states.
Finally, public attitudes toward immigrants and immigration are not only important drivers of immigration policies in European democracies, but also, indirectly, affect integration outcomes.
Increasingly, relevant civil society actors will need to stand together and uphold democratic principles and civic values to safeguard a cultural process and public debates about contentious issues, including asylum and migration policies. In this context, we believe that cultural mediators can use fully contribute by providing unbiased information and analysis.
Rethinking the world order:
One reason of the global migration crisis is the struggling of national states all around the globe with problems basically deriving from their classical structures and often-immense sizes. Matters of integration, of real democracy, of the dispersion of power and of the exposure to minorities are in one way or the other on the agenda in many regions of the world. And just very few governments are able to find proper solutions for these challenges so far. This means we have to rethink new ways of envisioning governance.
Artificially constructed national states are often resulting in war and violence.
We suggest to divide the world into small sections of government not even noticing current international borders, We suggest to divide the world according to smaller administrative units such as municipalities or mahallas. Just like the ancient Greek polis structures, the system we imagine could be based on regional responsibility and autonomy. If landscapes are not ruled by centralized governments anymore but by regional forces, the individual is not really a citizen of a fixed country any longer. Instead, its „nationality“ would change with the individual moving.
This statement is based on a 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe by Matthias Lücke.
The Wandering Tower is the title of a surrealist short story by Sergej Prokofiev from the times of vivid migration movements on the edge of the world wars.
The Festival was quoting the title as a metaphorical frame for Mahalla 2020/2021. The tower of Babel is connected as a motive to the search for the origin of language and the access to the divine.