3rd forced migration meeting: Calpe/Alicante, 2006

Report by: Agnes Rausch, Luxemburg 2nd April 2006

Welcomed by CLC – Alicante, for some of us even before and after the meeting, by forced migration service team of CLC-Spain and by the Jesuit fathers, in their summer residence in Calpe (all windows had a great view on the seaside.

Participated in the meeting: Liliana/Austria, Uta/England&Wales, Marie-Thérèse/Luxemburg, Bernadette and Catherine/France, Alix/Belgium-Fr, Alfonso/Italy, Amparo, Belen, Elisa, Miguel, Manolo/CLC-Spain, Bep and Eliseo /SJ-Spain, Guy/Wsecretary (Intervention), Agnes/euroteam

Expressed their regrets for not being able to participate: President of CLC-Malta

Prayed for success of our meeting: members of CLC- Switzerland and WExCo

Prayertimes were prepared and animated with great love and ability in French, English and Spanish by Belen. For Sunday liturgy we were enlarged by CLCers from Alicante + guitar. Our refugee world map, which we coloured on the first evening, highlighting the countries of origin of our friends on the move, decorated the altar.

Through testimonies of all the participants we got a lively picture of the difficult situation of forced migrants on the way to and in our countries:

  • Pep Buades sj presented Spanish Jesuits involvement in migration issues (cf appendix SJM Espana) and spoke shortly about sub-Sahara migration through Morocco to Spain, preferring irregular immigration to asylum claims, sure to get regularized after a certain number of years
  • Catherine, working as a social worker in a public home for asylum seekers, spoke about her experience after shut-down of Sangatte-camp at the border between France and UK, where many are on transit, trying to join UK. Sangatte-camp shut-down in November 2002. Now the situation at that border is very stressful for the migrants and the helpers, who try to keep a humanitarian climate, are very tired after 4 years. Police, government harass them all together.
  • We heard from Manolo and Elisa their activities regarding a partnership between CLC-Spain’s migration team and Jesuit Migration Service in Latin-America (see appendix Quito SJM) and heard later on from their information and communication network 1. within CLC-Spain, linking 39 local communities (see appendix Organization) and 2. outside, with world social forum initiative (see appendix Quito Foro)
  • Marie-Therese and Agnes gave an insight into CLC-Luxemburg companionship activities with forced returnees to Western Balkan including personal relations, project related support and lobbying activities (see appendix return to Serbia-Montenegro)
  • Liliana told us about her link with JRS in Austria and CLC-Austria initiative to establish collaboration with CLC-Ecuador through volunteers participating in Sigvol project of house construction in a marginalized area
  • Alfonso described CLC-Palermo involvement in Centro Astali, Palermo, a center of JRS for refugees, run by CLCers on voluntary basis with a variety of activities from medical care to educational offers. CLC-Palermo is member of a national migration network.
  • Bernadette challenged us all by the presentation of an initiative of personalized *companionship*, organized in Grenoble, through a civil godparent system for persons staying illegally in France, by French citizens and in the name of their republican values “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (see appendix parrainage)
  • Alix gave us a testimony of her work as a nurse at the retention centre of Brussels airport and about CLC-Belgium’s “ support team” for all those active in forced migration issue, including JRS and others, beyond CLC membership. (see appendix migrants forcés Belgique)
  • Agnes presented policy making procedure and lobby possibilities regarding european migration and asylum legislation trying to de-mystify  political activities (see appendix EU policy)
  • Guy reminded the CLC identity as a common apostolic body. This is not a new dimension within CLC, as General Norm 10 says very clearly: “In the spirit of its best tradition, and for the sake of a greater apostolic efficacy, the CLC at all levels promotes the participation of its members in joint projects to respond to various and changing needs. National or international networks, specialized apostolic teams or other such initiatives may be set up by the Community where appropriate.” Guy added 3 challenges: better communication, collaboration with our brother Jesuits, world dimension of our membership. He expressed the support of whole WExCo to our forced migration network, for whom we are pioneers and sign of hope for the whole World community

 

How to grow as a common apostolic body at local, national, European level in our common concern for forced migrants?

a) We all, active in this field, feel a great need to discern our involvement with our local CLC, to be sent and supported by them, to evaluate our work within our community. Burdened and overburdened, lacking a sound distance are some of the temptations in our field of concern.

b) We want to underline the importance of a CLC institutional answer to the migration challenge, overcoming individual answers and their limitations

c) On national and European level, some of us do collaborate with Jesuit initiatives as JRS, JMS; we want to look for an even greater collaboration and invite Jesuits to participate in our national network and initiatives.

d) We invite national communities already involved to confirm their forced migration team and 1 or 2 persons assuring the link to the European forced migration network

e) We would very much welcome those national CLC communities, who did not yet give an institutional answer to the forced migration apostolic project, to reconsider their answer and if possible nominate 1 or 2 persons to be linked to forced migration network.

f) as a European network we want

  • to support each other, to assure a certain continuity to our contacts in order to be a real apostolic body
  • to put priority on the following issues: Social integration, legal framework, emergency situations, marginalized migration groups, european philosophy on migration
  • to participate actively through an exchange of information and sharing of our experiences
  • to bring local burning issues to European consideration
  • to be initiators and challenge other national communities not yet involved, with diplomacy and courage, taking seriously their fear and eventual blocks

 

Concrete common steps

  • Every six months, for Christmas and before summer holidays (August) each member of the network sends information and shares his/her experiences related to the above mentioned priority issues. Manolo will take care of the networks communication exchange
  • Agnes will filter and send relevant European information
  • We ask all national communities to tell or to confirm us within two months their network link(s) with phone number, electronic and postal address.
  • As the Jesuits have the intention to create an european desk of  JRS+JMS, Agnes will contact the responsible person in their European office in Brussels and explore collaboration possibilities

 

Practical issues

  • Our common language: we explored during our meeting the value of good translation, thanks to Bep! As euroteam cannot afford costs for translation, we agreed that our common communication language would remain English. We invite national communities with a common language to support one another by translating if needed and to ask help to the national eurolinks
  • regarding the technical management, Manolo will take care of the networks communication exchange.
  • Take care of personalized neighborhood relations

The idea is to animate, to report about the meeting as a point where we interchanged experiences about forced migration, met new people, had a community experience.
It is better to phone, not to e-mail exclusively. Perhaps to visit them? The perfect contact is with somebody who is open to our issue and somebody related with the CLC structure, in order to give an institutional answer.

 

Next meeting:

  • Where? Who invites us?
  • Periodicity: every two years

 

Evaluation

  • We miss personal time to pray
  • Participation in the groups was less reflexion oriented than in previous meetings.
  • There has been a great progress with respect to other previous meeting.
  • Even the countries that have no national team and no structure have participatet in a positive way, with no barrier. This has contributed to feel as a single community with problems that are shared and supported by everybody.
  • Very positive to hear and share the Spanish experience.
  • We have new ideas to work in our countries.
  • No negative, except the weather (too cold). The organization was too good and it allowed us to concentrate on the meeting. We appreciate the translation effort.
  • Very good the moderator: Agnes. The methodology has promoted the participation and the efficiency. Dynamic meeting.
  • A lot of experiences that have open our mind. The problems and the situation in every country have enriched us. It promotes to act when we come back to our countries.
  • The group are very communicative and we have shared the faith, the migration, etc. All of these things are stored in our hearts. The openness of us all has made communication easy (even if we did not speak fluently the language used).
  • The meeting will facilitate our work in the future. To meet face to face facilitates our further common work on our priorities.
  • A very personal attention by the person of the kitchen. The house is very appropriate.
  • The presence of Alicante CLC members (Eucharist, party, etc) was much appreciated. Also Guy presence, because it is a sign of the reality of the Apostolic Body. The ExCo has been with us and we appreciate that a lot.
  • The participation to the meeting supplies a new reason to have hope. Some of our daily contacts with the migrants are painful situations and it is difficult to maintain hope and faith.
  • Every member of the Spanish team have found their role very fluently and it a sign of the apostolic body way of work. Each of them has given its talents and they have match very well.
  • Thanks to the jesuits for their facilities (the house, the presence of two Jesuits, the kitchen staff -their kindly attention, …).
  • The first european experience for some of us. It is very positive. It is very important to fit each name with their face.
  • We hope that we have put the first step of this migrant network that will support us.
  • In the Alicante sj environment the migrant area has been selected as the priority in the social theme. So it has been very interesting to attendance the meeting for the jesuits.
  • We have ended by taking decisions. It is very important because in this kind of meetings it is sometimes difficult to achieve this.