Participation of YPATIA in the event below the Foundation represented the Treasurer Μ. Theodotou

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Meeting of the Network of Cooperation of Immigrant Organisations, NGOs and Local Authorities:

Fruitful exchange of information and communication of ongoing key challenges in the reception and integration of TCNs in Cyprus

The Network of Cooperation of Immigrant Organisations, NGOs and Local Authories, operating in the framework of the Programme "New Channels for Integration" successfully convened for a fruitful exchange on the subject "Promoting communication, cooperation and understanding amongst migrant communities and Civil Society” on December 5.

When Civil Society organisations, migrants organisations and Local Authorities come together to cooperate for the integration of migrants, we can expect to achieve significant results, said the Commissioner for Volunteerism and NGOs Mr Yiannis Yiannaki in his intervention at the meeting. He highlighted the particualr significance of this at a time when the international community is seeking to confront a growing anti-migration sentiment, intolerance and violence cultivated by the extreme right, and referred to the pivotal role of Local Authorities in the process of the integration of migrants into our society, citing several international best practice examples. He commended how much has been achieved by Nicosia Municipality and its partners during the 7 years of implementation of the "New Channels for Integration" Programme, reminding everyone how little was the understanding and acceptance of diversity, of the challenges of migration and of the benefits of integration when this pioneering project was launched.

The participants from NGOs and organised migrants groups underlined the need for more effective communication, consultation and collaboration and towards addressing fundamental problems faced by migrants and refugees. They called for effective consultation and meaningful participation of migrant community organisations and Local Authorities in the design of future policies and action plans, to ensure that the allocation of resources addresses the real needs of TCNs and their integration in key wards of life. They pointed out key gaps in the reception and support of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in areas of fundamental needs and human rights, such as access to decent housing, sanitary facilities and health or social welfare services, the delays in issuing documents that are required for access to housing and basic services and the problematic legal framework regulating the employment and health care of the predominantly female migrant community of domestic workers. They also highlighted the need for facilities enabling the migrant community organisations to meet and seek solutions to everyday problems. Key questions were raised, such as why TCNs who have been in Cyprus for more than 7 years don’t seem to be able to acquire the long term residence if are actually entitled to apply for such status.

Mr Michalis Beys, Administrative Officer of the Civil Registry and Migration Department, informed the participants of the participative process that will be followed during the preparation of the new Action Plan for the integration of migrants and the significance that will be attributed to the involvement of a network of civil society organisations, including migrants organisations, with the aim of fostering exchange of ideas, collaborations and effective policy formulation.