By Serena Montefusco
On Tuesday June 27th, the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights took part in the event host by Diagrama Foundation in Chatham, UK. As part of the eight partners of European Citizens for Solidarity (EUROSOL), co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union, Diagrama Foundation invited migrants, refugees, and experts in this sector to attend an interactive art workshop.
The session opened with the presentation of the Fundación Altius Francisco de Vitoria on the main aspects, aims and prospects of EUROSOL project by the European Director Clara Úbeda Saelices. The event moved on to Nathan Ward’s contribution, drew a metaphor between birds’ migration with human migration and stressed the natural process in both birds and human beings in moving around the world for survival. He also explained the main aspects of the UK history and law regarding migrants and remarked upon the controversial idea of welcoming in detention centres. He explained that detention centres for first facilities often remind prisons.
In the second part of the event, the representatives of the UNESCO Chair, Dr. Alberto Garcia, Ing. Kevin Ramirez, and Serena Montefusco had the chance to express their perspective with the guidance of the Sensitive Labyrinth Theatre, Germany. It was an introspective experience where participants, at first, had to express with gestures and words what is most related to the refugees and solidarity topics. Second, the workshop participants divided into two groups to let them express their points of view and the reasons why they were chosen to be there through a drawing or a composition with newspaper. It was challenging for the audience to go all the way back to their beginning of careers, experience, and their life to appreciate their presence at the workshop.
In the third and last session, the guest Shawn Owen, from Migrant Help UK, presented Migrant Help organization and what it has been doing in delivering advice and supporting vulnerable migrants in the UK for more than 50 years. His intervention gave audience the possibility to better understand the actual situation in UK regarding refugees, human rights, and human trafficking. Apart from collecting data on how many asylum seekers are in UK, the aims of Migrant Help organization are to provide education, health care, legal, and psychological support. Even though the number of abused and trafficked people is still shocking, thanks to this organization as well as Diagrama Foundation and many others, it is interesting to see how numbers are decreasing. However, Owen highlighted that we are not talking about numbers but people, entire families, women, men, minors, who face atrocities along the journey in order to have a better chance in life. Birds migration is part of birds’ survival just as migration has been part of humanity since time immemorial.
The event held in Chatham was not only an occasion for discussion, confrontation, and dialogue among the participants, but also an occasion for Chair Director Alberto Garcia, to present the “Code of Ethics” that was prepared for the consortium. The role of UNESCO Chair is essential to carry out the entire EUROSOL project and in preparation of a Public Forum on “Human Dignity and Human Rights of Refugees” on November 27th in Rome through an ethical perspective.
One of Chair’s chief areas of interest since its 2009 has been Bioethics, Multiculturalism and and Religion. The Chair is thus deeply concerned with promoting and protecting the common human rights of all issues. Migration is a complex phenomenon that affects individuals of all creeds and cultures. Thus, the Chair’s experience in fostering the art of convergence and cooperation in global ethics enables her to join diverse groups of individuals committed to creating more just and welcoming societies.