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IPA semiar about political and civic participation of third country nationals

A Nigerian elected the mayor of our town – will it ever be possible? In Ireland it already is. Experts from Poland, Czech Republic, Latvia and Ireland discussed obstacles faced by foreigners in participation in politics and public life.

On 23rd September Migration and Development Policy Programme of Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) organized international seminar “Nothing about us, without us. Public participation and political rights of immigrants” to present the report that covered the situation in Poland, Latvia and Estonia. Results were presented by Piotr Kazmierkiwicz (IPA) and Dace Akule (Centre for public policy PROVIDUS, Latvia). Pavla Redlova, a representative of People in Need talked about the participation of foreigners in social and political life in Czech Republic. Invited experts, dr Joanna Fomina (Batory Foundation) and dr Magdalena Lesińska (Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw) agreed with the report’s negative opinion on Polish legislation which creates various barriers for immigrants discouraging them from participation in public life, i.e. foreigners are not allowed to establish associations, become a member of a political party or a trade union. Dr Fidele Mutwarasibo of Irish Immigration Commission presented good practices in this field. During the debate experts emphasized that raising awareness among immigrants to encourage them to raise their voice, as well as among politicians and people in power, is crucial.

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