Youth work, volunteer work, sports activities are among the best answers to support young refugees ad migrants – newcomers in the city – to develop and expand their social networks. Social networks are key to overcome isolation and loneliness of newcomers, especially minors.
This applies both to accompanied and unaccompanied minors, as communicated by Minne Huysmans, Free University of Brussels, in a study about attitudes, supporting networks and projects for newcomers in Belgium.
Taking young refugees seriously is about looking at them as young people, with resources and potential, and not just as refugees in need. “We need to implement what the Council of Europe Recommendation on Protection of Refugees in Transition to Adulthood proposes”, stressed Drahoslav Štefánek, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on Migration and Refugees.
He echoed the call of Julie Bynens, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Flanders, that social inclusion of refugees is a task for the whole society.
The conference Taking Young Refugees Seriously was co-organised by the Council of Europe Youth Department with the Vrij Universiteit Brussel and the Flemish Department of Media, Culture and Youth as part of the project Youth.Together.