European Coalition of Migrants and Refugees

The Launch of the EU COMAR

In the framework of the refugee lead events from June - December 2021, on 22 June the Refugee Lead Network launched the European Coalition of Migrants and Refugees - EU COMAR. There is a story of collaboration, friendship and hope behind this initiative. There are opportunities and gaps, and in discussions at the kick-off event they already highlighted lots of inspiring ideas on how we could make Europe more welcoming and inclusive. 

Together with MEPs, the European Commission and the UNHCR, participants and members of the coalition discussed the pledge on co-building systematic ways for equality and diversity. ‚ÄčThe European Coalition  is the first-ever refugee, migrant, and diaspora-led organisation to be registered and well-established in Brussels that closes the gap between refugee, migrant, and diaspora communities and European institutions. 

They organised the first-ever European summit of refugee-led organisations in April 2019 in Brussels. Since then, they have been collaborating with various partners and stakeholders to ensure migrants' representation and participation in policy debates. This has become especially important as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing vulnerability and insecurity faced by refugees and migrants. By acting as a bridge between different policy levels, as well as policymakers and civil society, EUCOM makes sure that refugees, migrants, and diaspora communities meaningfully contribute in the decision-making process, so policies aren't only made for them but also together with them. 

Their plan for the future is built around three pillars:

  • Strength: Build our capacity so that refugee and migrant advocates have an effective, sustainable international network that highlights their diverse voices in international political debates.
  • Advocacy: Urge the Brussels lobby to support and scale-up refugee and migrant policy priorities and migrant-led best practices.
  • Visibility: Increase the amount of refugee and migrant advocates advocating for themselves in the public sphere. This increased visibility will diminish xenophobia, change the toxic narrative of migration, and reinforce their agency and social contributions. 

They believe that a new narrative in Europe is needed. A story about newcomers that replaces the current stereotypes and stigma repeated in the news. 

Maria Grazia Montella, the CEMR project and policy officer on migration and integration, welcomed the initiative in her opening speech at the launch of the Coalition:  

"We are confronted every day with the necessity, the urge to have reliable, confident, open to dialogue and straightforward partners from migrants and refugees communities that know in which way they want to shape new policies that are made with them and not for them. Partners that have a vision and that are also ready to develop a new one, engaging in peer to peer dialogue and opening a terrain to discuss and reach a concrete objective... In the framework of the discussion currently going on at the European Parliament on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, a partner like this can have a pivotal role in addressing the gaps that this new piece of legislation has and opening a timely due dialogue with an acknowledged counterpart. The birth of EUCOMAR fills a huge gap in the Brussels political arena where migrants and refugees are mostly individuals that come and go and in which a common and organically organised voice from the migrant and refugee communities in Europe was missing."

A message on #WorldRefugeeDay on meaningful participation of refugees as leaders towards the change in the society and more inclusive communities. A wonderful song by Adam Labar has been presented at the launch of the European Coalition of Refugees and Migrants.
Make sure to put the volume up!