December 8, 2017

‘Those 9 days were the best of my life. I truly needed a break’ A story of the partnership with the UNHCR

In 2017, the European Youth Parliament worked on opening its activities to young people with a migration and statelessness background, among other outreach measures.

As part of this project, the cooperation with the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was developed at two of this year’s main event: the 85th International Session in Brno and the 86th International Session in Tbilisi.

The UNHCR is a United Nations programme mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the United Nations itself as well as assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

As part of the empowering campaigns #WithRefugees and #IBelong, the UNHCR supported the European Youth Parliament, by having youth actively participate in European affairs through issues related to asylum, migration and statelessness.  The UNHCR also contributed to the European Youth Parliament events by providing expertise on the topics of the Dublin system and statelessness during committee work at both sessions. Lastly, five people with a stateless or refugee background had a chance to take part in the sessions in Brno and Tbilisi and join their activities for its full duration.

As Avedis, one of the participants of the International Session in Tbilisi, testifies, this experience was unforgettable:

UNHCR delegates at the General Assembly

Those 8 to 9 days were the best days of my life. I truly needed a break of what’s going on in the real world, I felt like I was dreaming those days, living in a war and in terrible circumstances that had a huge impact on me. Coming to Armenia was great and literally saved my life, and meeting new people and visiting new sites was truly what I was lacking.

Join the UNHCR in its efforts by adding your name to the #WithRefugees petition in order to send a clear message to governments: they must act with solidarity and responsibility. Sign also the open letter aiming to end statelessness and join the supporters from all over the world who are helping to change the lives of the 10 million people who have no nationality!

The EYP is very happy to extend the partnership in 2018 during the international sessions in Vilnius and Rotterdam.

Learn more about the participants’ experience in Tbilisi on this video: