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Romania: The Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees is working on new advocacy plans

On 29-30 September 2021, the Romanian Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees – the national coalition created and supported in the framework of the NIEM project – met in Bucharest for an extended meeting dedicated to advocacy strategy.

Recently, Romania has adopted a new National Strategy on Immigration, which opens new opportunities for advocacy measures. The situation in Afghanistan and its potential implication is another topic of interest. Additionally, the developments in Timisoara, near the borders with Serbia and Hungary, where a relatively large number of migrants are arriving, remains a concern for the civil society promoting the rights and offering services to migrants.

In this context, the organizations members of the Coalition felt the need to discuss advocacy plans, and even more, to be better prepared for the opportunities and challenges ahead. The meeting on 29-30 September was the first in person meeting after almost two years, due to pandemic. 

The agenda of the meeting had two major components: training and planning. The training component had been included after an internal consultation of the Coalition showed that the majority of the members (now over 20 non-governmental organizations) felt the need to strengthen their advocacy skills. An experienced civic activist, community organizer and trainer was invited to facilitate the meeting. The first day was dedicated to a focus training on advocacy, with many relevant examples from Romania and other EU member states. 

On the second day, the participants applied the newly acquired skills to the concrete situation of the Coalition, identifying advocacy opportunities related to the new National Strategy on Immigration, and sketching the first steps.

One of the major decisions taken was that, in the following weeks and months, during an inclusive process, the Coalition would review and refine its position on the key topics related to the integration of migrants and refugees, including mainstreaming, education, labor market, health, citizenship etc. Working groups will be setup to work on the position papers, which will constitute one of the main advocacy tools in the future.