Migration and its related issues have become a central concern for the Balkans and the EU. Our
country Albania, is not as touched by this phenomena as our neighbours however, its effects continue to be deeply linked with us. A consistent part of the Albanian population has been living outside of the national boarders for more than a quarter of a century, and in the recent years immigration to the EU has significantly increased. Issues such as the housing practices of asylum seekers in our country, but also phenomena such as Albanian asylum seekers in the EU, unaccompanied minors in Italy, England, and elsewhere are concerning problems which should be analysed and treated with attention and competence.
GUS Albania has been working in depth with these topics. The latest activity that took place in Tirana in this framework was part of the Get Start project. This project, funded by the European Union program – Erasmus Plus, aimed to produce a reflection on the refugee crisis and humanitarian issues that challenge the EU. This activity was attended by 30 international experts working with refugees and migrants as well as NGOs GUS Italy, Antigone Greece, public body AFAD Turkey (Turkish Emergency and Civil Protection Authority).
GUS Albania, during the one-week work in Tirana, introduced the experts and partners to the best experiences in the field of Migration in Albania. Although in a context other than neighbouring countries, Albanian actors in the field of Migration gave integrative practices and models which proved to be extremely interesting for the participants.
At the discussion session with the Asylum Directorate at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and at the National Reception of Asylum Seeker Centre – Babrru, the participating organizations in this project were acquainted with policies for the reception and integration of migrants and refugees in Albania. During a discussion held at the Tirana Migration Directorate, international experts were also introduced with the law concerning asylum seekers and foreigners as well as the practices of the Migration and Border Police.
Further meetings continued with several international organizations and NGOs active in the field of
migration such as UNHCR, RMSA, Trauma and Torture Centre, academics from Wisdom University and others. A detailed description of the foreigner’s perception on this issue was discussed at the premises of the Tirana Municipal Council, where experts were welcomed by the deputy chairman and the directors of the Youth and Promotion Directory of the city.
Participating organizations from Italy, Turkey and Greece presented their work in the respective countries and also they exchanged the best experiences that they found more adapting to the contexts of the countries they operate in. Experts jointly analysed the latest developments addressing the challenges and future potential issues.
Get Start started in February 2017 in Ancona, Italy, where partners from Italy, Greece, Turkey and Albania were familiarized with its projects, purposes and objectives. In Thesaloniki, Greece in May 2017, partner organizations and institutions opened training sessions and exchanged their experiences. The project, which included analytical parts from fieldwork, reflected on methodologies and policies for a more efficient management of the migration crises. The projects main focus was on the importance of integration of asylum seekers and migrants, based on universal values of Human Rights.
The idea of the project is to create a dynamic research community to share best practices, and to reflect on ongoing humanitarian issues. The aim of the project is to improve the level of competences and key skills of participants in an informal educational experience, to develop and strengthen networks, and to increase their capacity to operate cross-border in the field of Migration. This project, launched under the slogan “Challenges Come before solutions”, will proceed with Puglia’s next session, where it will continue to devise
effective field responses to the migration issues.