Refugee Crisis: European and Arab Scouts At The Forefront of Positive Integration
After marathon talks at the EU summit last week in Brussels, which heavily focused on migration, a collective agreement on reforming the EU asylum policy is still missing. In fact, the European Union is still struggling to strike a balance between its internal security and its moral responsibility to protect those who had been forced out of their homes.
Civil society organisations rise to the challenge, quite often to fill in gaps caused by political disagreements and policy schemes. Scouts have been always at the forefront of peace-building in communities where refugees and asylum seekers face the grand challenge of integrating a new host society.
Earlier this year, the twelfth Euro-Arab Meeting took place in the capital of Turkey, Istanbul on 17-21 February 2018. The meeting focused on exchanging insights among 27 national Scout organizations from the European and Arab regions, around the topic of refugees’ integration in Scouting. It also aimed at strengthening partnerships in this area between the two regions through sharing information on existing funding opportunities and the state of play of institutional dialogue between the Arab and the European regions.
A short declaration has stemmed out of this meeting as a form of commitment of both regions to continue the sharing of best practices with other NSOs related to actions of Scouting for welcoming refugees and to provide opportunities to more young people to become engaged.
Several promising Scout projects where refugees and migrants are empowered to integrate their host communities are happening in France, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and Tunisia.