INVISIBLE WOUNDS - Dignity & Vulnerability

MIGRANTS  Integration & participation

   European Seminar Athens 25-26/2 /2010     EL  FR   IT









DOCUMENTS migrants

 VIDEOS migrants

 THEMES of Seminar

 1 Human RIGHTS

 Migrants Detention Camps Right - Legistation - Crime

 2 HEALTH-Mental H.

  Life  Dignity  Health  Migrants  &  Homeless






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Consider if this is a man, Who works in the mud

Who dies because of a yes and because of a no  Primo Levi
NGOs, Associations, Organizations,
involved in work with Migrants and Excluded People

Dear colleagues,

you are kindly invited to participate and contribute to European Seminar “INVISIBLE WOUNDS: migrants integration through welcome, solidarity and participation” that will be held in Athens on 24-26 February 2010.

2010 European Year for combating Poverty and Social exclusion will be a very important opportunity for promotion of new, positive and courageous migration policy, in respect of Dignity and Health - also of undocumented migrants !

Complex and multiple are the express and unexpressed needs of migrants as of homeless. Health and mental health of migrants, respecting their right to health and a dignified life is not one of priorities in European migration policies. Various types of administrative and subjective barriers - concretely - prevent access to public health and social services.

The seminar will be a forum for exchange of ideas, experiences and proposals concerning migrants condition and more specifically:  

  1. Human rights and respect for the dignity of migrants: invisible wounds as mental health consequences of the denial of rights;

  2. Health and Mental Health : invisible wounds as a consequence of traumatic experiences, present difficulties and humiliations and absence of hope for the future;

  3. Participation and employment : migrants as a resource for building society and insuring sustainable development. Invisible wounds as mental health consequences of exploitation & trafficking.

  4. Integration home & community : no social cohesion and new multi-ethnic community without respect for diversity;  invisible wounds as mental health consequence of pressure for assimilation.

Many past wounds visible and invisible, are part of the baggage which maim people on their migration paths. They are also the dramatic consequences of arrogant political attitudes towards them, of humiliation, rejection and criminalisation.

Migration can become for Europe today either an inspiring challenge or only a complex social problem.
In this specific forum, where the wounds must find adequate cure & care, we will :

  1. To reflect together on dramatic consequences, wounds, of current European policies on migration – in particular on irregular migration - on mental health of migrants, and also of workers with and for migrants,  and of citizens who live in close contact with migrant communities.

  2. To introduce and evaluate efficient and innovative projects, aiming at a real integration through active participation.

  3. To propose some models of welcoming and integrating migrants, based on the respect of human rights and human diversity, and on participation, which is the only way to real improvements in security and social cohesion.

  4. To converge in a common declaration concerning some fundamental and renounceable points: no detention camps in Europe    -   free access to health services for all.


Undesirability, and its corollary active rejection, characterizes more and more the policies relating to migrants, as often for the homeless leaving in the street in extreme situation of poverty and abandonment. The humanitarian welcome/acceptance and the principle of solidarity and civic integration remain at level of good intentions, while exclusion and discrimination feed the political discourse as well the reactions of citizens.


The punitive measures to control denounced by European Parliament (2005), continuing to be the main initiatives of migration policy: “The European Parliament regrets that so far the measures adopted by the Council and Member States have been primarily punitive measures to control migration flows rather than proactive in third countries. It recalled its view that strategies to reduce poverty, improve living conditions and working to create jobs and develop training in countries of origin, contributed to normalising migration flows in the long term. For the European Parliament, it is also imperative to take full account of the potential of immigration in a context of co-development. In this context, it encourages the integration of migration in EU foreign policy while recalling that the use of development aid is not enough to address the root causes of migration”. (09/06/2005 - EP: non-legislative resolution)


The ‘illegal’ (so called ...) migrants, and other marginalized populations, are only the tip of the iceberg of a social structural phenomenon handled often inadequately and sometimes inconsistently by the political class in Europe.
In a way, these other and different, require us to consider the situation scandalous and untenable.


The marginal and excluded people: undocumented,  without permit, care, home …less, are increasingly discriminated against, exploited and often actively rejected.
In addition, because of their status - so-called illegal - these people are seen as a threat to public order and therefore any means, (both administrative and policing) seem justified to counter this threat. Undocumented migrants have no other means to protect themselves but to hide at the risk of remaining without identity and without social aid rather than risk being expelled. As a result they remain without any law and are thus vulnerable to exploitation and arbitrary decisions.

In such a context, is it possible for an NGO and Association, for a social and health worker, to give meaning to their work when they are permanently faced with programs and political decisions which are quite contrary to fundamental law and professional ethics?

A detention center for refugees and migrants in Lampedusa, Italy

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