Reframing the discourse about migration and refugees in Europe.

Position:EUROPE
 
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BRUSSELS--In recent months, the Brussels Office of the Baha'i International Community has sought to participate in the discourse about the movement of refugees to Europe and the overall question of migration.

The Office has participated in a number of recent conferences and events, including: the annual human rights and democracy conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), held 21 September to 2 October 2015 in Warsaw, Poland; the annual general conference of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), held 14 to 16 October in the Hague, Netherlands; and the Quaker Council for European Affairs and Quaker Peace and Social Witness joint conference, held 4 to 6 December in Brussels, Belgium.

"One of our main goals in participating in these events has been to join others in seeking to understand and contribute to the ongoing discourse about the impact of migration in Europe," said Rachel Bayani, Representative of the Brussels Office. "And one theme of our contribution has been to suggest that the discourse can be reframed in the context of an understanding of humanity's essential oneness."

In remarks to the plenary at the Warsaw meeting, Ms. Bayani encouraged the OSCE to explore how educational processes and capacity-building endeavors can reinforce the collective awareness of humanity's oneness, especially among the youth and younger generations.

"There is a need to search for ways to strengthen the collective awareness of humanity's underlying oneness and to broaden the understanding of our primary over-arching human identity," said Ms. Bayani, adding that intolerance and discrimination often stem from the tendency of people to identify solely with social, cultural or physical characteristics.

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"This is not to dismiss the diversity of our secondary identities, which are...

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