4th Conference and Field Visit

Ending exclusion of the most vulnerable:

Solidarity, Humanity and Dignity with persons in exile

On December 6 and 7, 2018, the Samusocial International (SSI) and Amel Association International (Amel) organized in Lebanon a field visit, followed by a conference. The two NGOs gathered more than a hundred people from the Euro-Mediterranean region around the theme “Ending exclusion of the most vulnerable: Solidarity, Humanity and Dignity with persons in exile” with the support of Amel France, Un Ponte Per, the Fonds Xavier Emmanuelli and the Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly Foundation (MCAF). These actions fall within the scope of the Euro-Mediterranean Movement of Solidarity with persons in exile, initiated by Dr Xavier Emmanuelli, former Minister and President-Founder of SSI and Dr Kamel Mohanna, President-Founder of Amel.

Various initiatives, responding to the needs of marginalized populations, including persons in exile affected by crisis in Lebanon, were introduced to the Euro-Mediterranean delegation, on December 6, 2018. The participants went to South Lebanon (informal settlement of Sarada, covered by the Medical and Education Mobile Units and social and medical center of Khiam) and in the Southern suburbs of Beirut (Sabra and Chatila Camps and Haret Hreik). The visit also allowed the delegation, accompanied by Dr Kamel Mohanna and by Dr Xavier Emmanuelli, to discuss with the team of the Protection Mobile Unit, operated by Amel and SSI, working with children and youths in situations of street, as well as to visit the Center of the Palestinian NGO Beit Atfal El Somoud, with its Director Mr Kassem Aina.

Based on the themes covered during the field visit, including situations of street, protection and over-exclusion, more than a hundred Euro-Mediterranean stakeholders attended the conference held at the Institut Français du Liban, on December 7, 2018. The discussions started with a panel gathering the Ambassador of France to Lebanon, H.E. Mr. Bruno Foucher, Dr Xavier Emmanuelli, Dr Kamel Mohanna, one of the members of the Consultative Council of the MCAF, Mr. Nikolaos Poutsiakas as well as the Director of Un Ponte Per, Mrs Novella Mori. The panelists all stressed the importance of implementing activities around the values of solidarity, humanity and dignity, for the inclusion of all and with persons in exile.

The exchanges continued on exclusion of persons in situations of street and especially the youth and children and also on the precarious hosting conditions of refugees in Europe. Secondly, the legal framework meant to protect persons in exile was raised and in particular the quasi-absence of protection for vulnerable persons in Lebanon, affecting the refugees but also the Lebanese, as well as the obligation to give assistance to any person in danger, within the framework of the rescues in the Mediterranean Sea. Finally, specific vulnerabilities were discussed, including the situation of unaccompanied minors, gender-based violence and the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Persons reintegrated after being in situations of street or in situation in exile also shared their testimonies.

The conference ended with a panel gathering Dr Walid Ammar, General Director of the Ministry of Public Health and Mr. Gilles-Henri Tardy, a Member of Amel France’s Administrative Board, Dr Kamel Mohanna and Dr Xavier Emmanuelli. During its concluding remarks, Dr Xavier Emmanuelli reminded that “the whole world is on the roads. The tectonic of people is can’t be avoided, it is our job to go along with it.” He insisted on “the emergency to act together”. Dr Kamel Mohanna stressed the “importance of preventing conflicts and implementing, with and for the populations in exile, South-North partnerships that will go against populism and against a world losing its humanity”

This initiative is the continuity of three seminars organized in Paris, Athens and Rome in 2017 and 2018 by Amel and SSI and establishing a roadmap on the themes of transnational approach, fight against vulnerability and for the integration and inclusion of persons in exile as well as a Manifesto for Solidarity with persons in exile[1]. A report with the recommendations of the Conference will be published in the coming weeks by Amel and SSI.