LEGIS at the Conference on the Developments of Irregular Migration

Conference on the developments regarding Irregular Migration was held on the 15th and 16th of December 2016, in Izmir, Turkey. The host and the main organizer of the event was ASAM, one of the leading NGOs that works on humanitarian response on the refugee influx in Turkey, providing both humanitarian aid and protection to the over 3 million Syrian refugees and the hundreds of thousands registered non-Syrian refugees in the country.

Besides international organizations working on migration in Turkey, the conference hosted representatives from NGOs that work in first response on the irregular migration routes in Greece, Malta and Macedonia, as well as representatives from the host community that because of their line of work are geographically linked to in position to intercept the distress calls and are often expected to provide the first response regarding the irregular migration flow in the Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean and the .

Driton Maliqi and Aleksandra Davidovska  from LEGIS were one of the key speakers that presented the situation regarding irregular migration in Macedonia, and the work of LEGIS in response to the flow or irregular refugees and migrants trough the country. The Key push factors and the Protection Risks that refugees and migrants face in the process of irregular migration were discussed as well as the risks faced by the front line workers in response to the irregular flow, from the aspect of Macedonia.

During the two day conference, a broad image was illustrated of the facts and circumstances, the legislation and the protection mechanisms(or the lack of) in Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and the Mediterranean, coming from field workers, psychologists, social workers, coordinators, activists, journalists, captains and fishermen. The key speakers conferred with the participants about the specific challenges they face in response to the irregular migration flows, from saving lives to provision of psycho-social support to ensuring protection of the people that decided to undertake the perilous journey across land and sea, despite all the border control measure and all the life-threatening risks. The need of better and more structured cooperation between the CSO on the different points of the route was emphasized, as well as dialogue and cooperation with and between the authorities, the lack of which often costs hundreds of innocent lives.

The Conference was a first step towards ensuring communication and cooperation between the key actors in the region. More events of this kind will follow in 2017, strengthening the cooperation in the region and providing more structured approach towards responding to irregular migration.