The concept of Human Rights, Human Rights principles and their advocacy constitute a certain universality across the world no matter where you are from. These indivisible and inalienable values govern our lives and form the fabric on which the pillars of Liberty, Equality and Dignity of human life stand. We are all born free and are entitled to equal and just rights, aren’t we?
Therefore, Human Rights call for parity in the dissemination of rights to one and all, regardless of gender, caste, creed or religion. They are deemed inalienable as all people everywhere in the world are entitled to rights and termed indivisible as rights, whether relating to civil, political, economic or cultural dimensions are equally important.
But, despite being incorruptible in their ethos and spirit, Human Rights often get colored by myriad causes existing at multiple levels of nation states, thus impacting civilian lives. These causes manifest themselves in the form of biases and injustices in policies and administerial workings of countries thus hampering the application of an otherwise Universally applicable and legitimate concept constituting our lives.
But, if you comprehend the working of the universe, you would arrive at a deeper and more prolific understanding of the way things are. Where there is a negative, there is always a positive that restores order to the chaos thus setting a balance toward rationality, meaning and therefore, a greater purpose.
In the form of Issues Without Borders, a pertinent advocate working toward upholding and upkeep of Human Rights, we have a selfless force working toward creating a positive change amidst a world often marred by Human Rights violation.
A not for profit organization, IWB( Issues Without Borders) is a young and dynamic plaform working toward advocacy of human rights and legal equality toward all. It is pertinent to note that IWB with its roots in Europe is a confluence of freedom in thought and action. An utterly selfless initiative operating in the domain of promoting human rights and upholding human rights values, IWB directs unheard voices towards meaningful action.
IWB is working tirelessly toward creating an online platform that disseminates cutting edge information based on researches and insights, from around the world aimed at promoting a free thinking societal mindset that encourages diversity and inclusion of thoughts and actionable view-points.
Issues Without Borders for Refugees
If you are minutely aware of what’s happening in the larger ambit of the world, then it cannot happen that you would not have heard of the existing refugee crisis in the West. Refugees are people who are displaced from their natural and legal habitat due to varied existential factors such as ethnic strife’s, inhospitable governments, wars and religious conflicts.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, there are a whopping 60 million people who have been forced to dislocate from their homes in the face of the constantly rising ethnic clashes or violence as caused by the ruckus spread by ISIS in Syria and bordering countries.
Not since the Second World War (1939-45) have there been so many refugees or internally displaced people(IDP).
It is important to note that in a world where there are increasing human conflicts recurring due to multiple dimensions (as happening currently in Middle East and Europe), people are left with no choice other than that of leaving their legit homes and seeking shelter in generally hospitable lands. This calls for greater attention of common people and calls upon the world’s leaders to take mindful and urgent action toward controlling human misery.
Aptly titled, Issues Without Borders for Refugees, IWB for Refugees is an emerging platform that is not only raising awareness toward this regard but working toward creating a EU directive on refugees that can ideally be implemented properly in every single member state.
In a recent conversation with the founder, Issues Without Borders, Papuc Patricia Casandra- we learnt about how IWB is working toward emerging as an important think tank of Europe, at a time when unarguably the world’s most beautiful continent finds itself amidst an interesting set of challenges in the dynamic of Human Rights and the ongoing Refugee crisis.
Extracts from our Q&A:
Tell us for our readers what Issues Without Borders is about? How did the idea come about?
Issues Without Borders is a youth organisation that focuses on human rights and encourages and empowers individuals to take action. The idea came about during a skype conference I had with a girl I met in Poznanthat year at a summer school focused on human rights. We were discussing about creating a network of professionals, with volunteers from across the globe, people interested in learning and debating various issues and creating positive impact through their activities.
Could you please share with us your Human Rights journey and how and when you got entangled in such a noble and illustrious affair?
I don`t recall a specific moment when my human rights journey started. I have always been a human rights defender because after all, everyday life is a struggle in which we try to defend our rights, , help people in a way or the other. But from a more objective point of view I started being a volunteer for the Red Cross in 2007 until 2011, I volunteered for the Romanian Refugee Camp in Bucharest during my bachelor’s degree, during my master’s programme I was a volunteer for Aiesec the biggest student run organization in the world and I also volunteered for an NGO in Copenhagen which was focused on helping migrants navigate through the Danish system.
Regarding the current project, IWB for Refugees, I was having a skype conference with the vice president of Issues Without Borders Adina Loredana Nistor, who has been part of this journey from day one. She had the idea of conducting interviews with refugees from across Europe and creating a database comprising their life stories. I loved the idea from the first moment I heard it so I though why shouldn’t we take it to next level?
Being a major in EU law I remembered about a new provision which was inserted in the Lisbon Treaty: the Citizens Initiative. The provision finally gave EU citizens to right to be part of a change in the EU. If you have an idea, a change that you wish to pursue in the European Union, idea which is protected by the EU treaties, you can draft a petition, register it at the European Commission after which you have to raise 1 000 000 signatures from EU citizens above 18. Once you raise those signatures the petition is sent to the European Parliament where, in case it obtains a positive vote,it becomes a new EU directive.
Our project is called IWB for refugees: based on a set of guidelines applicable for all 28 member states of the European Union, guidelines which are analyzing the refugee issue in every single member state from a legal, social, cultural, media perspective we are tying to offer a new European legislation for refugees. This new legislation is going to offer them a better chance to contribute to the European identity and values because after all the motto of the EU is: Unity in diversity. We want to offer them a better chance, having their case heard and try to help them because after all, refugee rights are human rights.
Q. The condition of migrants, at the moment isn’t the most promising one. It never has been for they are often made to lead miserable and an indifferent existence on account of the Geo-political reasons and realities that foster a “refugee” sort of a lifestyle for them in their home countries. What are the thoughts of IWB on the current Migrant/ refugee issue ?
When we started the project in early February 2015 the migration crisis was not at the point where it is now, probably the hugest crisis Europe is facing at the moment. I think that people are misinformed about the refugee crisis as far as I have seen in social media, some newspapers, TV, etc. It is hard to have an opinion about the conduct of European political parties but I disagree with the xenophobic, racist attitude towards refugees.
Our project is not meant to force Europe to open its borders to everyone fleeing their country for various reasons, but to try to open the borders, for the ones who truly qualify, who deserve to obtain the refugee status, status which can be given only if you can prove that you are persecuted and your life is in limbo.
Q. Could you please take us through the goal and mission of IWB and how it’s spirited work in the ambit of fighting for the rights of Migrants in Europe is espousing for a change in attitudes in the way one has grown used to treating/ mistreating migrants?
Generally speaking the mission of IWB is to offer an online platform that empowers its users to take on personal and societal injustices and supports them in their actions.
For those in need of more information, insight or confidence to take action, IWB offers an online information portal and network that supports its users to participate as active citizens. IWB aims to provide serious and crosscutting information, based on the knowledge and experience of its users. In order to achieve this, users are encouraged to produce their own research and bring original solutions to issues around the world.
The vision of IWB is to be an online platform for discussion and learning, that enables its users to think outside the box and work towards self-development. IWB believes that independent, individual and inventive thinking is indispensable for any society to be free from inequality and human rights violations.
IWB constantly strives to break down traditional frames and constraints by encouraging its users to directly contribute, share and discuss their knowledge, experiences and insights. The organisation’s goal is to make meaningful contribution to forming a societal mind-set which is independent, open minded, generous and has the courage to question its beliefs. The organisation works towards this vision on the basis of our four core values:
- independence and freedom in thought and action,
- respect for diversity of cultures and different points of view,
- a fair and objective attitude towards all issues, and
- promoting real and effective action in our societies.
This is our general motto, how we work and what we believe in. With our current IWB for refugees project we are tying to have a positive impact of the life of refugees across Europe and also trying to show EU citizens that Europe should be an open continent for those in need and that refugees should not be blamed for the politics of some countries, for the extremism of some religions , for the existence of some terrorist groups and that they should be given a chance.
Q. The current focus, correct us if we are wrong lies toward the all important migrant situation in Europe as that is the organization’s key priority given the critical state of the European and Middle East situation since ISIS’ absurdity. Where do you see Issues Without Borders 3 years from now and will we see an your footprints to other parts of the world?
In 3 years from now, I would like to see Issues Without Borders with a EU directive on refugees, applied and implemented properly in every single member state. I hope that we will have other projects undergoing at that time; more qualified members from across the globe; a larger network with annual international conferences; I hope that we will become one of the most important think tanks of Europe.
Q. What in your view is European Union’s take on the migrant crisis and what suggestions can IWB offer to it in terms of shaping thought leadership toward the global migrant crisis?
I personally do not agree with the way the European Union has handled the refugee crisis. I think that the European Union is taking a lot of decisions without being well informed, a lot of political calls only for votes, without having proper knowledge and insight on the issue.
After all, wars have not been started by the people who are now fleeing those countries. So I don`t think you can solve a problem without seeing it from its roots.
That said, may I also add that IWB will have several recommendations in the IWB for refugees petition. It is impossible for me to define them at this stage. But, around next year we will have a working group for the petition so probably I will be able to elaborate more then.
Has the Organization received grants thus far? And who are the bodies that can contribute copiously toward up-scaling the importance of your issue-backed agenda at IWB?
The Organization is still a young organization, the site was only launched on the 6th of March 2014. We have created a department for grants and hopefully we will manage to obtain financial support soon. We would like to obtain a grant in order to organise an international IWB conference in Bucharest where I can bring all the members, invest a bit in paid promotion and offer a stipend to all our active members/ researchers.
Tell us about a day at work in IWB office? What’s a normal working day like? What is the role of researchers and writers/ communication experts in aiding to IWB’s important cause?
A day at work in IWB office is slightly different from other organizations. We are now more than 70 researchers and all our work/ discussion are taken online, via Emails/ Skype/ Facebook etc.
We are all volunteers so we are not getting paid for our work, this is why we work a lot in the evenings after work and in the weekends as well. All the members believe in our cause, that of having a positive impact in society, they are amazing people, some of them are my friends, some I have met since the inception of IWB and at a certain point I will meet everyone. So very happy with our team and what is great is that they all want to lend a hand, learn from each other and be part of the change they want to see in the world.
It is all about team work and team spirit: TEAMWORK is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows COMMON PEOPLE to attain UNCOMMON RESULTS!!!”