Thank you, Madame Chair.
When the NGO Delegation decided on the topic of our current report, we have anticipated serious resistance and difficulties, mostly due to the current global political situation, where migration is a highly disputed issue and often used and abused for local, temporary interests; people on the move – call them migrants or refugees – are demonized and scapegoated by populist governments and ambitious politicians.
If we had to make a bet on which aspect of our report will be most questioned, the definition we decided to use for describing who we are addressing with the report would have had the highest odds and those very few lucky of us betting on it wouldn’t have to worry about our finances for the rest of our lives…
Definitions. We like to use them, it’s in our human nature to define things and people around us and then put them into boxes. Human beings. We create categories; classify things to make our life easier and more predictable. But sometimes, definitions cannot define them all, the more precise a definition is in pursuit of understanding of who or what we are talking about, the bigger the chance that we are leaving something or someone out.
I am a migrant, by most definitions, as I have moved to live and work in a different country than where I was born. I have moved for and found a better and safer life in Germany. Safer, as my home country, Hungary, under its current leadership has transformed into an illiberal democracy, where civil society, especially human rights NGOs like the one where I worked at have become “enemy” of the state.
I can still remember the level of insecurity, stress and anxiety during 2014 when the government ordered its Government Control Office to investigate NGOs that have received support from the Norway Grants Funds with the threat of closing down our bank accounts and office searches. The situation has seriously deteriorated since then. Would my quality of life seriously suffer if I returned home? Definitely. Would I risk persecution? Possibly. Does that define me as a refugee? Not, according to the definition. Do I feel like a refugee? Sometimes, especially when reading news from Hungary…
Definitions can be useful, they give us guidance and mandate; they help us raise interest and support. And sometimes they leave us behind…
When creating this report and choosing our definition is part of our commitment, our aim was to make sure that no one is left behind. We found that mobility, which is one of the inherent characters of humanity, which was essential to shape the world and economies, also create additional vulnerabilities in the context of HIV/AIDS and its co-infections and we simply looked for and found a definition that fit our purpose.
By no means we decided to use this definition to challenge other definitions, and via these definitions the work or the mandate of organizations. We decided to use this definition to point to human mobility in all its forms and variety and the need to address the vulnerabilities it imposes in the context of HIV/AIDS if we want to reach our targets, leave no one behind and end AIDS by 2030.
Agenda item 1.4 Report of the NGO representative
Delivered by Ferenc Bagyinszky, NGO Europe
Tags: 43rd PCB Meeting