Milestone meeting as Youth Forum takes forward migration work

22. 02. 2016

The European Youth Forum has kick-started its work on migration with the first meeting this weekend of its new Migration and Human Rights Network. The meeting, which was co-hosted by the Austrian National Youth Council (ÖJV), took place in Vienna on 20th February.

The Youth Forum’s migration network meeting, attended by 11 Youth Forum members (ÖJV, ESU, DBYN, YES, LSU, RCY, ESYN, ENGSO Youth, LiJOT, CJE, CNJC) aimed to identify the way forward for the Youth Forum and its members when it comes to the urgent issue of migration and young refugees, particularly given that a high proportion of refugees in Europe and around the world consist of children and young people.

Participants identified some of the key recommendations from the Resolution, Protection and Integration of Young Refugees in Europe, adopted at the Youth Forum’s Council of Members in November 2015 and laid out next steps in order to work towards these recommendations being implemented.

During the meeting the participants shared best practices from their own experiences, including in the areas of:

  • fostering human rights education and intercultural dialogue to prevent discrimination and exclusion of refugees;
  • the creation of legal channels for refugees and migrants;
  • the abolition of detention of young and especially minor refugees;
  • the prevention of family breakdown and facilitation of cross-border family reunification;
  • the acknowledgement and support of youth organisations’ promotion of citizenship education, intercultural dialogue and anti-discrimination, as well as youth organisations’ engagement with young refugees

A key part of the meeting was also to identify the main goals and next steps to advocate externally as well as to spread the word with the Youth Forum’s membership and civil society more widely. The network will now work to push for the implementation of the resolution’s recommendations.

ÖJV also hosted a public panel on Friday (19th) evening, “Whose rights & which rights? Young refugees in Europe”.  Panelists discussed how the EU and its member states should respond to the refugee crisis, as well as the role of youth organisations.

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