UNITED Budapest Conference Report – Day I & II

The ‘Building Shared Space – Best Practices in Integration’ UNITED conference took place in Budapest between 22-25 May 2018 with the aim of discussing the most important challenges as well as possible solutions within the field of migrant integration in Hungary and in the European Union.


Balint Josa giving an opening speech
Balint Josa giving an opening speech

Balint Josa, Programme Coordinator of UNITED opened the conference by giving a presentation about the activities of UNITED and the local Hungarian context in terms of migration and migrant integration. He provided detailed background information about the migration situation in Hungary since 2015 and the current trends in the political sphere as well as the present challenges that civil society faces in Hungary. The programme continued with a non-formal networking activity where participants introduced their organisations’ work to each other. Participants further discussed their activities during an informal evening programme in MiraDoor, a local community space that fosters community building and social inclusion of migrants and refugees via artistic methods.


Mozer Julia from CEJI Jewish organisation presented the „Facing Facts” course that aims to tacfacing factskle hate speech and hate crimes by offering online courses for civil society as well as police officers and decision-makers. Ms Mozer pointed out the importance of a joint action as well as a victim-centred approach in tackling hate crimes. The upcoming ‘Bias-indicators course’ will assist police officers, decision-makers as well as civil society workers to map the wide range of indicators behind hate crimes in order to better understand and thus better tackles hate crimes. She pointed out that as opposed to minorities, refugees should not be regarded as one single group but people with a very wide range of identities. CEJI courses also aim to increase trust when it comes to reporting hate crimes and to assist mapping local support services for victims.

33304781_1730367010417651_3468541452819103744_oGibril Deen from Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organisation, gave a keynote speech presenting the challenges refugees and migrants face in Hungary and how his organisation aims to support their integration using football and sports as a tool to rai33510657_1730507380403614_3999660763659632640_ose awareness and reduce racial prejudice in the Hungarian society.

The afternoon continued with Tolga Karakayali’s presentation from MUDEM Refugee Support Centre, Turkey. Mr Karakayali provided an extensive overview of the situation refugees face in Turkey in terms of access to rights and services, including access to social assistance and support, access to healthcare, access to education. Mr Karakayali also described how these rights can be accessed by people with special needs, unaccompanied minors, women who had been victims of violence and the elderly. The presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion where participants and experts discussed and compared various practices that their organisations apply in supporting refugees.

In the last session of the day, Shumaem Bin Wasim, Migrant Community Representative of Subjective Values Foundation shared his personal experience as a migrant living in Hungary, highlighting aspects of difficulties he faced in housing, education, labour market integration and social security. Mr Bin Wasim summarised the outcomes of the Budapest Migration Forum project of Subjective Values Foundation and shared major problems that were identified during the project, highlighting severe conditions that refugees have in Hungarian detention centres and in the Hungarian healthcare system.


As the closing of the day, participants engaged in discussion concerning the topics of the day and compared their national contexts, as well as discussed possible solutions that can be implemented in their own countries.