On May 25, the Danish Refugee Council’s Diaspora Programme (DRC DP) and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) convened an online public event “Asylum lottery – Afghan access to protection in Europe". The purpose of the event was to present and discuss how flawed asylum decision-making process across Europe undermines the fundamental rights of Afghans seeking protection, not least through contributing to secondary movement and refoulement. The event was focused on explaining the current situation, discuss specific issues such as secondary movement, shrinking protection space and deportation through a series of national cases presented by diaspora responders – namely, Sweden, France, and Denmark.
To discuss the aforementioned, we had both asylum experts and Afghan diaspora representatives from across Europe active on supporting Afghan asylum seekers – namely, Reshad Jalali, Policy Officer at ECRE, Najib Obaid Babakerkhail, Founder and Director of the French Refugees Council (FRC), Zohreh Yasna Faizi, Chairperson at the Afghan Lawyer Association in Denmark, Arif Sulimani, President of Unaccompanied Minors Association in Stockholm, Bettina Jen-Mei Chu, Head of DRC Asylum Return, Reintegration & Counselling, Sepideh Molodi-Safa, DRC Asylum Consultant. The event was facilitated by Adrien Bory, Coordinator for DRC’s Diaspora Programme initiative “Afghan diaspora Engagement in Europe”.
The panel discussion was part of DRC’s Diaspora programme ADEE initiative in cooperation with ECRE. The project aims at supporting increased dialogue and agency within the Afghan diaspora in Europe as well as between the Afghan diaspora and the Afghan Government.
Upcoming online events will cover topics such as: Advocacy on the situation in Afghanistan & consultations on the Afghan National Diaspora Engagement Policy. A 3-day European Afghan diaspora conference will be organized in the Fall.
14:00 – 14:10: Welcome and Introduction
14:10 – 14:25: An overview of asylum situation for Afghans in need of protection in Europe
By Reshad Jalali, Policy Officer, ECRE.
14:25 – 15:00: Thematic discussions with national case studies (France, Sweden and Denmark)
15.00 – 15:15: Break
15:15 – 15:45: Workshop – how diaspora can support Afghans in their pursuit of asylum in Europe.
For this session, you will be able to join one of the 3 following breakout rooms and develop recommendations on what you can do in the diaspora (a) on your own, (b) in collaboration with asylum actors (c) as advocacy
15:45 – 16:20: Presentation of recommendations in plenum with Q&A
16:20 – 16:30: Closing remarks.
Bettina Jen-Mei Chu is a trained lawyer. She has worked with DRC since 2002 providing legal advice and return and reintegration counselling to asylum seekers in Denmark until 2016 when she became Head of DRC Asylum’s Return, Reintegration & Counselling Unit.
Mr. Babakerkhail, the Founder & Director of French Refugee Council (FRC), holds a PhD in Asian-European studies. With more than 10 years of progressive experience in different fields, he retains excellent knowledge of international humanitarian affairs and migration issues from prominent organisations including EASO, ECRE, OHCHR, UNHCR, IOM and the UN Human Rights Council. He has been involved in several high-level panels and conferences on refugees and their dignified integration in the host communities. As a result of his advocacy efforts, Mr. Babakerkhail has been awarded by the prominent international institutes.
Zohreh Faizi has an LLM from Copenhagen University and is currently working within immigration and family law in Denmark. Moreover, Zohreh chairs the Afghan Lawyersי Association in Denmark(ALA). The organization advocates for human rights and gender equality in Afghanistan by establishing and strengthening legal aid offices for the vulnerable people in different parts of Afghanistan. Furthermore, Zohreh is board member of Women Refugee Route, a non-governmental organisation working to change the system of decision-making in migration policy by including refugee women in the process.
Reshad Jalali works as a Policy Officer at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). In September 2020, he is also appointed as a member of the Expert Group on the Views of Migrants at the European Commission. Prior to this position, he was involved with advocacy activities for refugees and asylum seekers by working in the refugee rights sector. He is holding a masters degree in International Relations with a specialization in the role of the EU in the protection and promotion of human rights from Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool UK. He has a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Delhi, New Delhi, India. In addition, he followed several courses related to human rights and refugee rights, including a summer school on the European Union Law and Policy on Immigration and Asylum at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).
Sepideh Molodi-Safa is a legal advisor with the Asylum Department at DRC Asylum. She is an experienced refugee and human rights jurist and has for the last 10 years advised asylum-seekers and refugees in Denmark about their rights and possibilities in the Danish asylum context.
Arif Sulimani is the president of the Stockholm Union of Unaccompanied Minors "Ensamkommandes Förbund Stockholm" (EFS). He is also a board member of the World Hazara Council in Sweden, the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League Club and a Social Activist. Since summer 2017, he has been working for the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and their integration and establishment in the Swedish Society.
Adrien Bory is a Project Coordinator at the Danish Refugee Council’s Diaspora Programme. He leads the initiative "Afghan Diaspora Engagement in Europe".