Europe experienced during 2015 one of the largest migration influx of recent years with the arrival of over one million people escaping from war and human rights violations. While the political debate about migration is often placed at the national level, the provision of settlement, basic services, access to work, and the right to participate in the decisions affecting their lives are questions where cities play a crucial role. Refugees bring challenges to the cities where they settle, but they also bring the possibility to embrace the “diversity advantage” to create inclusive cities for all. Yet, they are often absent in different democratic arenas and have difficulties to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
The focus of the seminar was on the role of cities as frontrunners for the democratic inclusion of refugees. The panelists presented possible innovations to create democratic inclusion for refugees at the local level. The main question guiding this seminar was:
What are possible innovations or best practices to create arenas where refugees can participate in the decisions concerning their lives?
Ulrika Modéer, State Secretary to the Minister for International Development Cooperation
Ssenyonga Joseph, City Council Member, Makindye Division, Kampala, Uganda
Mark Ewesit, Chief Officer Ministry of Lands & Urban Planning, Turkana County, Kenya
Susanne Hedlund, Coordinator Refugee Inclusion, Botkyrka Municipality, Sweden
Nathalie Ebead, Head of Democracy Assessment, IDEA
Mohammed Al Saud, co-founder of The Young Republic, an NGO empowering young Syrians
Moderator: Andreas Ekström, writer and journalist, Sydsvenskan