Geneva- Leaders of diaspora and community organizations from around the world are coming together today to send a clear, unified message of solidarity with those facing xenophobia, discrimination and even violence due to COVID-19.
More than 220 federations and associations supporting diaspora communities in over 150 countries signed a joint statement over the past month whose goal is to create a ‘new normal’ where societies find further strength in diversity and mutual support.
Organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through its iDiaspora platform, the statement was co-convened by the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals, Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform, Africa Diaspora Network (ADN) and Coalición por Venezuela.
“It reaffirms the importance of racial and social justice, and the need for unity between peoples regardless of origin, race, skin colour and cultural background at this challenging time and into the post-pandemic recovery,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino
“Now more than ever, the safety of our society as a whole depends on the effective protection of the most vulnerable. Xenophobia and discrimination undermine our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to address the socio-economic impacts that disproportionately burden the most vulnerable and marginalized elements of our societies including migrants.”
Moving from words to actions, the signatories will convene to form a Global Coalition of likeminded diaspora organizations committed to working together to address the challenges arising from the current situation.
The first virtual meeting of the Coalition will be organized on 8 July at 16.00 (GMT+2). All signatories and other interested organizations are welcome to take part in this formative meeting to decide the structure and priorities of the Coalition. Its aim is to support as many vulnerable diaspora communities as possible by sharing and taking forward effective measures to tackle COVID-19 challenges affecting the global diaspora and the communities where they reside.
The conveners and signatories of the joint statement are already undertaking important actions and would like to use these examples to inspire joint actions at the regional and global level. For example, the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals has established the first national support and third party reporting centre for East and South East Asian communities in the UK, and its chairman has also recruited 800 professionals from over 50 countries to set up a global virtual support centre for a local charity in consultative status with UN ECOSOC to safeguard the most vulnerable communities in Cameroon.
Similarly, the ADN believes that in the current context the global community has an opportunity to hold leaders accountable and is engaging in advocacy and educating grassroots actors to address institutional discrimination, racial violence and police brutality that exist in systems around the world that have been laid bare against the backdrop of the pandemic.
It is proposed that moving forward, member organizations of the Coalition will work together to identify the regional challenges and collaborative solutions with supportive entities including the IOM and national governments. Diaspora leaders closely coordinate in the global response to COVID-19 to safeguard vulnerable communities from xenophobia and discrimination.