Global migration summit hears how WACC partners are shifting public narratives on migration
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Etaf Roudan from Community Media Network speaks from a podium table on a stage. She is holding up the first two fingers of her right hand and is flanked by two fellow panelists, both women.

Global migration summit hears how WACC partners are shifting public narratives on migration

A radio microphone can be a powerful tool to change narratives around migration, Etaf Roudan of the Community Media Network (CMN), a WACC partner in Jordan, told participants at a side event at the 14th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) on Thursday.

“At our radio station, the radio show is produced and owned by the Syrian refugees. This means that it really is their voices that are being given attention, which is extremely rare in Jordan,” the CMN deputy manager said.

Roudan reported on how “Syrians Among Us,” a WACC-supported community radio initiative run by CMN, is empowering Syrian refugees in Jordan to share their stories with other refugees — and the wider Jordanian society.

Rey Asis from Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), a WACC partner based in Hong Kong, also shared insights at the side event “How civil society is shifting migration narratives: From multistakeholder partnerships to ethical storytelling.”

The APMM advocacy director highlighted the importance of rights-based migration narratives in challenging dominant depictions of international migration, which portray migration as beneficial to economic growth but ignore the deteriorating conditions in which many migrants live and which avoid speaking about migrants as people with rights and freedoms.

“We need new narratives to challenge negative perceptions of migrants, refugees, and human rights defenders, as well as to shed light on larger and systematic factors that reinforce the commodification of migrant workers,” he urged.

Asis introduced “You Are Not Alone,” an online community of care and protection for migrants across the Asia Pacific region being launched this year by APMM with support from WACC.

“We need to promote the idea that accountability on the part of all migration actors, and especially duty bearers, is nonnegotiable, and that we must empower migrants and their families to participate in policy conversations,” he told Summit participants.

Sponsored by the United States and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and co-organized by the GFMD’s civil society mechanism, the side event also looked at the importance of personal narratives, the role of the education sector in promoting different perspectives on migration, and the need to frame migration in different ways to avoid characterizing migration solely as a security issue, a narrative increasingly put forth in Europe.

Other panelists included Marta Youth of the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Julien Simon of ICMPD, Nathalie Porte of E-graine, and Paddy Siyanga Knudsen of the Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism.

The participation of WACC partners in the GFMD took place under our communication rights and migration program and was made possible by support from Bread for the World-Germany and ELCA (USA).

Etaf Roudan from Community Media Network, a WACC partner in Jordan, speaks at the 14th GFMD Summit side event on civil society and changing public narratives around migration. Photo: Lorenzo Vargas/WACC

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