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WORLD REFUGEE DAY: ASYLUM IS A LEGAL RIGHT, NOT A STIGMA

By 2021 Legacy Award recipient, Roudy Ali from Muenster, Germany

Roudy is a Kurdish activist and refugee, who has battled with the effects of war and asylum, as well as travelling for 28 days to reach Germany. Roudy has supported women in refugee camps organised empowerment sessions for those coming from conservative families and women experiencing marital problems. Wanting to help women back in Syria, Roudy started a social media campaign that reached thousands of women in need of support and advice. Roudy has also fundraised to help women access education and enrolled in a social work programme at university to expand her positive impact.

20 June 2022

We do not celebrate June 20th as World Refugee Day, but we rather want to commemorate it through forums where we shed light on its origin and cause from various angles. How long will the refugee be seen as an outsider and stranger, as if they are making a mistake for seeking asylum in a country, instead of feeling that they are exercising their legitimate right to asylum in search of safety and peace? A refugee is a survivor of war, famine, unemployment, poverty or sectarian conflict and other reasons, but they cannot continue to live as a victim for the last day of his/her life because of belonging to a country where they have not decided his way of life.

Roudy Ali while giving workshops on empowering the role of refugee women in work, study and human rights in Germany at AFAQ e.V. Association

The Geneva Refugee Convention determinates the recognition of a person as a “refugee” and outlines the legal protection, assistance, and social law measures that the signatory states must grant to a refugee, as well as the general obligations that the refugee must fulfill towards the host country. Article 1 of the Geneva Convention on Refugees defines a refugee as “a person who is outside the country of his nationality or his permanent residence and who, because of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or has a well-founded fear of persecution because of their political opinions and cannot seek the protection of that country or cannot return there because of that fear of persecution.” Firstly, a “refugee” is anyone who has left their home country permanently or for a specified period had to, although they prefer to stay there. As a rule, the causes of fleeing are violent and life-threatening events, such as war, displacement, or natural disasters such as floods, droughts and earthquakes, which make staying in the homeland impossible or unbearable. Even if the causes and motives partially overlap, these refugee movements are to be distinguished from migration flows, in which people leave their homeland voluntarily because they hope for a better life in their new adopted country – a characteristic of the mass migrations of the 19th century from Europe to the United States (USA).

For this reason, it is imperative for the governments of the host country to provide the necessary needs for a decent life to the people they welcome, without always referring to their status of the refugee which accentuates at many times their view as intruding subjects into the country. Providing opportunities in integration projects is the first way to remove the barrier of degrading look towards the asylum seeker after their long and difficult journey.

During the Muensters’ event to combat racism against refugees, organized by AFAQ e.V. Association

On the social and charitable level, I work as a volunteer member of the AFAQ e.V. Association for Cultural and Social Cooperation in the German city of Muenster to contribute with the team in facilitating the integration process of refugees who arrive to the city from several countries. We started in 2012, welcoming and accompanying refugees, translating for them and helping to register their asylum in Germany. Now, we are working to provide intensive workshops and various trainings to all refugees to help them in the field of language strengthening, self-reliance, getting to know their rights and the culture of the host country and much more.

On the socio-political front, I work with my other colleagues from AFAQ e.V. as a representative in the Integration Council of refugees and immigrant people in the local city of Muenster, as well as a member of the local committee for social affairs in the municipality of Muenster. We stand for those people to defend their legitimate rights to work, study, housing etc. equally to the rights of the indigenous people and without discrimination because of their country of origin.

Roudy Ali while planning a flower planting event on International Women’s Day with refugee women in Muenster city

Working on behalf of the world’s refugees is a global duty that all countries must take care to provide for their residents. AFAQ Association for cultural and social cooperation, as well as the Integration Council, the Social Affairs Committee and other organizations are active in all major cities of Germany, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Most of all, we need to establish a common ground where every country in this world must believe in the principle of democracy and the right to self-determination, and that asylum is a legitimate right for every individual in our society. Giving the refugee a chance to find a new future in a safe place is not a stigma but rather a human right.

Roudy Ali at a meeting of the Municipal Social Affairs Local Committee in Muenster

To be part of those who can bring happiness to the hearts of refugees and contribute to their support:

1. Follow AFAQ e.V. Association for Cultural and Social Cooperation on Facebook  and the website  and learn about our activities and contribute to its support with a donation.

2. Go to the local associations in your city that help refugees and put forward projects, even if small, with refugee children, for example.

3. Visit their shelters and learn their stories to find out about the brave people who survived and became successful in different countries.

4. Contribute to the dissemination of their stories and successes and express your rejection of racism towards them, starting in schools and even in everyday life.

HELP US REACH MORE YOUNG PEOPLE

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