World Refugee Day took place this week. On the 20th of June, we remembered the 89.3 million people that are forcibly displaced worldwide. These are people escaping from war, climate change, hunger, and violence. On this day, we must also raise a question. Why was just close to a third of them recognized for protection by another country as a refugee? Read this blog post to find more about migration in Portugal, and Festival Passagens.

Displaced People In The European Union

The European Union hosts less than 10% of the displaced population worldwide. Reaching Europe is not simple or safe. For instance, 3.231 people died or went missing at its border last year. However, it is not confirmed how many people cross by sea, so the real number is expected to be considerably higher. Barriers and drawbacks start early in the journey at Europe’s doors, where people are welcomed by pushbacks and detention. This increasing hostility against refugees and migrants shows behavior very distant from the common narrative of European solidarity and respect for human rights. How are we welcoming refugees and migrants at borders? Are we witnessing violations of international law?

Refugees and Migrants In Portugal

Refugees and migrants face multiple legal and social barriers to being admitted to a host country after passing its borders. In Portugal, the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) constitutes one of the main pitfalls and difficulties for most of the people that decided to have Portugal as their final safe port. The government decided that SEF was going to be abolished, but this transition has been postponed since 2021. What should be the next step? How and what should be important to reformulate in the current system?

With a long and heavy journey on their backpacks, the entrance into the receiving society is not always easy for people from different origins and backgrounds. This demands an urgent question about how the integration system works in Portugal. Moreover, the challenge is even bigger when speaking about minors integration. In 2019 Portugal commited to hosting 500 unaccompanied minors from Greek Refugee Camps. Until now, less than half of these minors made it to Portugal. The question is: why? How is the integration of these minors working? What are we doing to respond to the insecurity and psychological distress these children were subject to in their previous journey?

Festival Passagens

These are the starting questions of the first edition of the Festival Passagens. An event that brings together multiple specialists, testimonies, and artists to talk about. An event that raises attention to the varied and intricate frontiers that refugees and migrants have to pass through to reach a safe port.

HuBB – Humans Before Borders welcomes everyone who is looking forward to diving deep into the world of migration and celebrating the social richness created by people’s movements!

By counting on the expertise and testimonies of specialists and frontline workers, we will try to better understand the frame of migration flows to Europe. From the perilous boat trips in the mediterranean to the disorienting host system in Portugal. We will follow the paths and look closely at the contexts that surround people on the move. Especially the most vulnerable, like refugees and unaccompanied minors. For that will we have 3 debate/sharing sessions:

  1. SEF Extinction… Now what?
  2. Pushing back hope – EU cruelty at its borders
  3. The reality of refugee minors integration – Promises, challenges and good practices

And More

Festival Passagens is also about the richness of the encounter of cultures and people, about those special collective moments made of different tastes and spices, of diverse dance passes and music transitions. For this purpose, we will count on an inter and transcultural group of artists and chefs that will delight us with their music, performances, and food.

Come and join us on the 25th and 26th of June in Nucleo A70 in Lisbon. Free entrance, as worldwide passagens should be.

Interested in reading more about refugees? Read our previous blog post World Refugee Day: Common Misconceptions About Refugees.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of SPEAK.

Author: Humans Before Borders

HuBB – Humans Before Borders is a Lisbon and Porto based civil society platform for action against inhumane and illegal treatment of migrants and refugees.

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