Democracy & Justice

A Letter to the New Year 

With populists on the rise and human rights workers criminalized, it becomes difficult to assist those seeking refuge. Here’s how we will be helping the New Year to transform the challenges surrounding migration into opportunities.  

by Jascha Galaski

Dear 2019,

By the time you read this, you will be a freshly minted New Year, trying to learn from the experience of your just-departed predecessor. So in order to help you grow curious and strong, we decided to give you some much-needed nurture.

We’ve been doing some soul searching here, at the office, and realize that we too must become wiser about one of the most pressing challenges of our time: migration.

Everywhere in Europe, migration has triggered heated debates and polarized the political spectrum. Populists have used anti-immigration rhetoric to court voters. How can you help us arrest that trend?

We have a couple of ideas. Firstly, we want to help reshape the migration debate by creating a narrative change, leading with positive, solution-oriented stories that motivate our audience to engage. Highlighting that the desire of migrants to move is triggered by the same motivations as ours, namely safety, family, work and contribution to the community, shows that they are not different than us.

Like us, you will want to move away from the notion of a ‘migration crisis’, which generates anxiety and fear and is less and less credible at a time of falling migrant numbers. Be the year when more people want to unite around common values such as inclusiveness, tolerance and empathy, while challenging prevalent populist views.

Secondly, join us in advocating for more convergence and solidarity between EU member states. We will continue denouncing human rights violations, participating in debates and reporting about developments. Our aim is to help shape future migration policies that protect and advance the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers.

All in all, our dear 2019, do support a strong Europe that feels confident enough to provide a sanctuary for those seeking refuge. Let’s work together to achieve this goal. You might be young, but we know you can be a game-changer.

Kind regards,

Jascha Galaski, Migration Advocacy Officer