LERRN is committed to the participation of refugees in all stages of research and policy, which aligns with the emphasis for increased refugee participation in the Global Compact on Refugees. On January 30th 2019, LERRN hosted a roundtable discussion on the next steps for refugee participation following the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in December 2019, where history was made when Mustafa Alio was formally welcomed as a member of the Canadian Delegation.
Mustafa, a Syrian refugee, a co-founder of Jumpstart Refugee Talent and a member of the LERRN advisory committee shared his experiences at the GRF. He was joined by Muzna Duried who is also a Syrian refugee, a government liaison officer with the Syrian White Helmets and a member of the LERRN advisory committee. Muzna reflected on her experience as part of the Global Refugee-led Network Delegation November 2019.
The discussion proved to be very insightful, with questions of representation, accountability, and access steering the conversation. Both Muzna and Mustafa emphasized the need for multiple avenues of refugee participation in global decision making, and that participation must include a diversity of perspectives.
The key message was that refugees in both resettlement countries and in the Global South must have their voices heard. One such approach would follow the Canadian example and include refugee representatives on state delegations, and continue to ensure that refugee-led delegations have an equal seat in high level forums. However, scaling up this approach to a global level will continue to be challenging as refugees face considerable barriers to participation.
This dialogue is a reminder that while change may be slow, it is happening. LERRN will continue to facilitate these on going discussions, and identify avenues where we can support the participation of refugees in all stages of the research and policy process.
To view the full discussion click here.