#Article (Archive)

European Parliament poised to tackle racism, xenophobia against migrants

May 10, 2016, 12:36 PM | Article By: Alagie Jinkang

European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) on 3 May 2016 launched a ‘Clinical Legal Education in Europe’, a forum to discuss issues of racism and xenophobia that faced migrants in Europe.

The event, attended by various legal clinics in Europe, was on the theme ‘Creating a new generation of lawyers to promote equality and access to justice’.

The panel discussion was led by Ms Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, ARDI co-president; Prof. Clelia Bartoli, University of Palermo; Maxim Tomoszek, presidentof the European Clinical and Legal Education (ENCLE); Ulrich Stege, executive secretary; and Alagie Jinkang of the Human Rights and Migration Clinic at the International University College of Turin, Italy.

Ms Kyenge said the European Parliament showed its commitment to fighting racism by selecting ARDI as one of the 28 inter-groups to promote racial equality, counter racism, and educate about non-discrimination in the work of the European Parliament.

She called for more clinics to support the disadvantaged and underprivileged migrants, saying the clinic is the right source of justice to those in desperate need.

Prof. Clelia Bartoli, University of Palermo, said although many clinical activities are doing well, many others are facing difficulties such administrative and funding challenges.

ENCLE President Maxim Tomoszek said there is a need for a collective clinical and legal education in order to propel justice to those in need.

Ulrich Stege, executive secretary, said clinical and legal education is paramount in promoting racial equality and non-discrimination in Europe.

Alagie Jinkang of the Human Rights and Migration Clinic at the International University College of Turin said clinical education is instrumental to the European society as it promotes social justice.It also builds the capacities of students who will most probably be lawyers in the nearest future.

He said the clinic at their university has been in existence for more than five years working on topical issues such as supporting asylum seekers by preparing their asylum stories, searching for relevant information, and preparing them for the interviews in local courts.

Mr Jinkang said through the numerous ground breaking activities of the legal clinic, they were able to integrate, educate and provide asylum for many disadvantaged and underprivileged persons.

Mr Jinkang also brought to fore the political atmosphere in The Gambia which he said is compelling many Gambians to seek for asylum.

However, he lamented that the asylum procedures are not paying attention to situation at play in The Gambia as many Gambians are continuously denied asylum.

During the different panels, speakers stressed that racism and xenophobia are direct violation of the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Many of the speakers alluded to the fact that terrorist attacks and the so called ‘refugee crisis’ have created new opportunities for xenophobic and racist groups, including political parties, to push racist and xenophobic agenda.