“One document can change someone’s life for the better” is the opening sentence of a new short documentary produced by the Education Department on the Project “European Qualifications Passport for Refugees (EQPR)”.
The video presents the EQPR as a tool supporting refugees’ integration into their host societies and it features interviews with representatives of the Council of Europe and UNHCR, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, representatives of local authorities, NGOs working with refugees and universities. Three refugees, EQPR holders, share their experiences and expectations for the future in the video.
The EQPR is regarded as an important tool by local authorities. “It is really a crucial tool for refugees, but I think it is also crucial for local authorities and the host country which benefits from a know-how and a very positive experience for its own development” pointed out Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, Deputy Strasbourg Mayor in charge of European, International Affairs and Human Rights in the video.
Universities have already accepted the EQPR and refugees were able to enroll in courses as students. “If they get the Passport, we can accept them at the University, so I hope that also the other universities can accept these students” highlighted Alessandra Carucci, Vice Rector for International Affairs, University of Cagliari in the video.
The EQPR facilitates the recognition of refugees’ qualifications even in the absence of full documentation. Thanks to their EQPR, refugees can enter another phase in their lives by seeking and finding employment or by entering further studies.
“If we don’t give refugees the possibility to use their qualifications and to gain further qualifications, we are also really undermining our own societies and we are undermining the societies from which the refugees came” highlighted Sjur Bergan, Head of the Education Department, Council of Europe in the video.
The UNHCR has been supporting the EQPR since its early stages and believes that it should be upscaled. “UNHCR believes that it needs to be rolled out in every single country. It is a process that will enable all the refugees in all these countries to be able to get again a grip on their lives: professionally and as students” explained Roland-François Weil, UNHCR Representative to the European Institutions in Strasbourg.
The EQPR contributes to refugees’ integration and to the fostering of democratic and inclusive societies and is part of the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe. “My hope and expectation at the same time, is that this very useful and practical tool will become a natural part of any integration strategy, policy and processes in all our member states” emphasised Tomáš Boček, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees in the video.
The video was produced in the context of the EQPR evaluation session held in Strasbourg on 25 February-1 March 2019 and of a joint event on the role of education in supporting refugees’ integration organised by the Council of Europe, UNHCR and the City of Strasbourg held in Strasbourg on 1 March 2019.
Video "Education: The Key to Integration":
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