REFUGEES AS VALUABLE DIVERSITY, NOT BURDEN

REFUGEES AS VALUABLE DIVERSITY, NOT BURDEN

13.09.2019.

The European Union, as well as Croatia, are not doing enough to protect refugees going through hell on long and uncertain journeys full of risk, concluded during the new program called Film & Discussion: EU organized by Festival of Tolerance at the Kaptol Boutique Cinema. The refugee crisis came after nothing had been done to calm the situation in Syria for years, and during that time actual people were suffering, said Tvrtko Barun, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service for Southeast Europe.

The discussion followed the screening of the documentary Midnight Traveler, made by cell phones by director Hassan Fazili and his family fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban blackmailed Fazili's head. The protagonists of this touching film have traveled 5600 km, including the Balkan route, in search of security and after a few years have found themselves in Germany where they still have no status.

There are so many people. In 2017, the largest number of refugees was recorded, as many as 20 million, said Indira Beganović of the UNHCR Office in Croatia. As a solution to this problem, she emphasized the need to implement a resettlement program to third countries, in which Croatia is included. Žarko Katić, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, said that Croatia has received 250 Syrian people so far, mostly families. He added that more than 800 asylum applications have been approved in Croatia so far.

Damir Župan from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said that the refugee problem is the biggest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century, which can only be solved globally. The UN is trying to address this with a global compact on refugees whose implementation lies ahead, but it should think about specific people and prevent situations that are driving them the hard way.

Counsellor and Consul from the Embassy of Canada to the Republic of Croatia Emily Nicholson spoke about a successful model of acceptance and integration in her country. "Canada's goal is not only to receive but also to educate and integrate refugees. We are a multicultural country and we need migration, and we benefit greatly, from the simplest of having great restaurants to the current winner of the tennis US Open, which is Canadian, originally from Romania", Nicholson said.

Moderator Jasmina Popović noted that numerous countries do not have such an attitude or send a similar message to refugees. Tvrtko Barun also agreed, saying there are countries where diversity is not value. "The number of refugees in the EU is decreasing, but the reactions from many countries are not true. The situation in BiH is particularly difficult, which does not have the capacity to deal with the increased number of refugees in that country. Many refugees try to cross the Croatian border even 15 times in a row and in the end, many succeed in that." Barun said, emphasizing the need for cooperation between the government and non-governmental sectors in refugee protection.

The Film & Discussion: EU program, through which the Festival of Tolerance extends its concept of discussions on current social issues beyond the festival itself, was implemented with the support of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and UNHCR in Croatia.

The second issue of the Film & Discussion: EU will discuss the future of the European Union on Thursday, September 19th with the Croatian premiere of the Swedish documentary Feminister.

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