On International Migrants Day, 18 December 2020, IOM Belarus took the opportunity to reach out to the youth through the art of cinema with a view to creating a positive narrative towards migrants and providing a safe space for discussion and debate.
As part of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF), IOM Belarus, together with resident UN Agencies and IFIs, organized an online event for young people dedicated to International Migrants Day.
Attended by students of the Faculty of International Relations of the Belarusian State University – a leading school for nurturing young leaders in the international relations field, the meeting featured a screening of the film “Women’s Country” directed by ?irin Bahar Demirel, followed by a moderated discussion. In total 63 participants joined the event, among whom there were 50 students.
After the movie, the students got first-hands knowledge on the multi-faceted phenomenon of migration through the prism of sustainable development, gender, public health, HIV/AIDS, etc. The panelists represented by UN Heads of Agencies and staff were engaged in active discussion with young people on migration issues.
Statistically speaking, 11% of international migrants are young people aged from 19 to 24. In turn, IOM prioritizes building innovative alliances, including those with the academia and young people. The latter is in fact well placed to produce creative out-of-the-box solutions the migrants and society at large need. With this in mind, the event was specifically targeted at the youth.
“The main theme of this year’s Migrants’ Day is reimagining human mobility. And I’m talking about “reimagining” for a reason. Indeed, in 2020, many migrants are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic. They work in the healthcare, transportation, food service industries and help us overcome the challenges we all face in isolation. However, like many vulnerable groups, migrants are heavily affected by COVID-19 because of job losses, pay cuts, instances of stigma and discrimination, when people on the move are even blamed for spreading the virus. During this difficult period, migrants are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation”, – said Mahym Orazmuhammedova, Chief of Mission at IOM Belarus.
The meeting closed with a hope for a better future. “At the end, migration shouldn’t be a forced step. Every person should have a choice. On International Migrants Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to safe and dignified migration for all. Happy International Migrants Day to everyone!”, stressed Mahym Orazmuhammedova, Chief of Mission at IOM Belarus.