The Geneva Centre issues a publication on the unprecedented rise of people on the move and one other on the role of the headscarf as a bridge between cultures and religions

GENEVA, Feb 19 2019 - (Geneva Centre) – Two new publications entitled “The Unprecedented Rise of People on the Move” and “Veiling/ Unveiling: The Headscarf in Christianity, Islam and Judaism” have been published by the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue.

The purpose of the first publication is two-fold: it is first to assess the causes and consequences of forced displacement of people on the move in Europe and in the Arab region. The first volume entitled “Migration and human solidarity, a challenge and an opportunity for Europe and the MENA region” explores the adverse impact of cross-border movement resulting from war-related insecurity and from economic push factors such as the detrimental impact of climate change.

Secondly, it aims to demonstrate that the migrant and refugee crisis is not a “number-crisis” as many of the European countries most hostile to the arrival of people on the move are those that have hosted the smallest numbers of migrants. Upon examination of these issues, it becomes clear that the closed border policies of advanced societies and the rise of xenophobic populism further aggravate the migrant and refugee crisis.

The publication also includes a part entitled “Protecting people on the move: IDPs in the context of the refugee and migrant crisis” examines the causes and consequences of internal displacement in the context of the migrant and refugee crisis. It demonstrates that the push and pull factors of forced displacement of IDPs in the Arab region exacerbate migrant and refugee inflows to Europe. Upon examination of the predicaments of IDPs in Syria, Iraq and Azerbaijan, the study demonstrates that prolonged internal displacement results in long-term adverse impact on societies from economic, social and political standpoints.

In conclusion, the publication suggests that the long-term solution to enhance the protection of IDPs in conflict- and disaster-settings rests on the ability of stakeholders to develop efficient policies to prevent and reduce internal displacement.

The aim of the second publication is to counter misconceptions, deconstruct stereotypes and to show the role of the headscarf as a bridge between cultures and religions. Against the background of a heightened fear of the Other, with societies turning inwards and moving away from tolerance, the headscarf has become outrageously politicised. Politicians are waging a relentless war against this religious symbol, either by advocating its prohibition and thus trampling on article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, or by legislating to impose it on women, thus violating women’s freedom to choose what to wear.

The Geneva Centre partnered with the Permanent Mission of Algeria to organize a panel discussion and an exhibition on 23 February 2018, at the UN Offices in Geneva, entitled “Veiling/ Unveiling: The Headscarf in Christianity, Islam and Judaism.” In the first part of the publication, the reader is provided with the summary of the debate, whilst a full chapter is dedicated to the lessons learned, offering an analysis of the topic from the standpoint of each religion discussed. The second part of the publication provides a graphic illustration of the catalogue of the eponymous exhibition.

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