Yasmina Filali, was one of the speakers contributing to the session about ways to promote positive narratives on refugees, at the 16th June UNHCR – NGOs Consultation in Geneva, Switzerland
What can civil society do to promote a positive narrative about refugees?
Today, there are many people on the move due to war or persecution, and they are fleeing into a much more hostile world where finding refuge can be fraught with racism, intolerance and exclusion. The anti-foreigner rhetoric that is fueling this fear and xenophobia is loud and organized, and requires a concerted effort to establish a counter narrative of respect, diversity and inclusion. People have real fears and dispelling those requires trust and time.
Developing a counter narrative that is simple,honest and connects with communities and individuals may be the best alternative. Studies have shown that when welcoming is associated with values of respect,liberty, freedom and diversity, the public is more receptive to the message. What can faith-based organizations, private sector contributors, and users of social media so to work on perception change in favor of the displaced?