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Romania: launch of the NIEM report and national conference on integration

On 8 June 2022, in Bucharest, the Centre for Public Innovation - NIEM partner in Romania - presented the most recent results of the NIEM research. The NIEM national event was part of a two-day conference of the Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees - the platform created and supported in the framework of the NIEM project. The conference was organized under the name „Together after the pandemic and the war”. 

The conference started on 8 June with a comprehensive discussion on the situation in Ukraine and the response of the Romanian state and society to the wave of refugees. The two panel sessions included representatives of all relevant stakeholders. The speaker of the Human Rights Committee from the Senate, the upper chamber, represented the Romanian Parliament. On the part of government, the representatives of the main institutions with responsibilities in the field of immigrations, the Department for Emergency Situation (coordinating the humanitarian response) and the General Inspectorate for Immigration (the national authority on immigration) took part in the event. Representatives of UNHCR and IOM spoke for the international organizations, as well as several members of the Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees.

The second part of the conference started with the presentation of the NIEM 2nd Evaluation, delivered by Ovidiu Voicu, the country researcher in the project, on behalf of the Center for Public Innovation. The presentation emphasized the main results of the research, how Romania compares with other countries and what are the strong and the weak points of the national policies for migrants’ integration. One of the key messages of the presentation was that Romania was severely lagging behind when it was the host of a few thousands beneficiaries of international protections, while now is asked to respond to the needs of several tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. The NIEM results can be used to identify structural problems but also solutions and positive practices from other countries.

The participants divided in three working groups: Education, Housing and Employment. Each group had two inputs on the table. The NIEM research provided the first input - the diagnosis and recommendation of positive practices from other countries. The second input was the draft action plan, specific to each dimension, proposed by the relevant public institutions to respond to the medium and long term needs of the Ukrainian refugees. At the end of the day each working group came up with priorities for future advocacy work.
The second day of the event was the annual meeting of the Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees. The members and supporters of the Coalition discussed advocacy priorities, internal organization and opportunities to advance the common work. Among other important issues discussed, the participants decided to find resources and organize training for the Coalition members, for example on sensible issue like trafficking of human beings and labour exploitation. 

More than 50 participants attended the two days of the event. It was a long-expected in-person meeting, after more than two years of restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Everybody welcomed the opportunity to share opinions and expertise, and to continue working together to support the beneficiaries of international protection and other immigrants.