May 5 – 6, 2018
Tepekule Congress and Exhibition Centre, Izmir
URBAN REFUGEES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
The moral scope of the term “refugee” is significantly wider than its legal meaning: it applies to anyone who seeks refuge in a foreign country for compelling reasons. In this broad sense, a good many refugees, both from Syria and elsewhere, have been residing in Turkey for years – however, without a permanent legal status. Syrian refugees in particular are still under “temporary protection”, despite the fact that their arrival dates back to seven years ago. Time has proven that their residence in Turkey is no longer temporary but has become permanent. Yet, they have been denied the right to asylum, which would grant them a permanent legal status. As for the right to citizenship, it has been currently granted only to a very small group of Syrians who are in a priviliged position due to their educational and/or economic background. What this means is that refugees in Turkey are deprived of rights associated with a permanent status as they carry on their lives.
Local governments are particularly important in giving refugees access to public services and hence enabling them to enjoy certain rights. As some municipalities have already exemplified, they are capable of alleviating the precarious conditions of refugees especially by means of local citizenship legislation.
Would it be possible to apply local community law in such a way as to grant refugees some sort of legal recognition as urban citizens, thereby removing their categorization as “alien residents”?
What are the responsibilities and capabilities of local governments to ensure peaceful relations between refugees and locals, and to enable them build public friendship?
What do local governments do – and what else can they do – to fight hate speech and discrimination against refugees?
What services are provided by local governments for the refugees? Are those services sufficient to enable refugees to live in dignity in the urban setting?
To explore such questions, the 3rd Alan Kurdi Workshop is designed to focus on “Urban Refugees and Local Governments”. Taking place at Izmir Tepekule Congress and Exhibition Centre on May 5-6, the event will be structured around two working groups: “Refugees and the Responsibilities of Local Governments”, and “Urban living for Refugees: Needs and Solution Proposals”. Institutions and researchers working on refugees as well as urban refugees themselves will be attending to each working group so as to to discuss the pressing problems and possible solutions. The final report of the workshop will be shared with the public.
All refugees and everyone who has something to say on their condition are kindly invited to the workshop.