The ‘2nd International Migration Cartoons Competition’ organised by Time to Help UK, one of our solution partners, has been concluded. The first 6 works that ranked in the competition with cash prizes were announced on the website named ‘Humanity Cartoons’ (www.humanitycartoons.com). The website also featured the top 20 winning works.
The owners and countries of the first 6 cartoons selected by the jury consisting of Kianoush Ramezani, Christina Sifianou, Fawzy Morsy, Safaa Odah are as follows: Gustavo Fernando Caballero Talavera (Mexico), Ali Miraee (Iran), Vladimir Pavlik (Slovakia), Luc Descheemaeker (Belgium), Hamit Gış (Turkey), Alireza Pakdel (Iran). A total of USD 3,300 will be awarded to these artists.
In addition to the winning cartoons, 100 works that passed the first evaluation stage are planned to be exhibited in the UK and other European countries. Starting on 20 June, the Refugees Week will be organised in two different ways: ‘travelling’ or ‘fixed’ exhibitions. Fixed exhibitions will be held in halls or galleries, while travelling exhibitions will be carried out by volunteers in the streets and squares of some big cities.
The competition, which was organised to draw attention to the ‘refugee problem’, which is among the most important agendas of the world, started on 1 March 2023 and ended on 15 May. During this period, 768 professional or amateur artists from many countries sent a total of 1,278 cartoons. Of the works drawn by the artists, 674 were found to meet the announced criteria of the competition. The 100 works presented to the selection of famous cartoonists were determined by a committee of experts.
The first one was organised by Kimse Yok Mu Association
The first edition of this contest was organised in 2016 by Kimse Yok Mu Association, a humanitarian aid organisation based in Turkey. Nearly 1,200 artworks from different countries participated in the contest, with Cuban cartoonist Hernandez Guerrero coming first, Constatin Pavel from Romania coming second and Italian Alessandro Gatto coming third. The 120 selected cartoons were to be exhibited in Athens, Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, Cologne, Brussels and Paris. The first exhibition was opened in Athens, but the plan was left unfinished as Kimse Yok Mu Association was unlawfully shut down after the coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The managers and employees of the association that organised the competition became refugees.
HRS, together with Time to Help UK, one of the partner organisations of Kimse Yok Mu Association in Europe, set out to complete the unfinished plan. Stating that they want to benefit from the power of the art of cartooning and at the same time support those working in this field, the organisation delegation explains their aim as follows: “We want to shed light on migration issues in general, the problems in the asylum and refugee integration systems of Western societies and contribute to a better understanding of the problems faced by migrant communities.”
Yusuf Kar: People leave their homeland to survive
Yusuf Kar, General Manager of Time to Help UK, stated that they see it as a historical responsibility and debt to continue such a meaningful project in an environment where the world is discussing asylum seekers. Reminding that nearly 100 million people have been displaced against their will, Kar said: “As an organisation that provides humanitarian aid to African and Asian countries, we are well aware of the conditions that lead to forced migration. As a last resort, people leave the land of their birth in order to sustain their lives. However, they are not welcomed in the countries they take refuge in for different reasons.” Emphasising that the problem carries the danger of growing even more, Kar said, “For a solution, the problem must first be recognised. We believe that the competition we organised will serve this purpose.”
Pointing out that they plan to exhibit 100 cartoons selected among the works participating in the competition in different centres of the world, Yusuf Kar said that they expect support from all institutions and groups that are sensitive to the issue. Reminding that they can share materials and ideas with those who want to open an exhibition, Kar asked those who are interested to contact them.
Hamza Mazlum: The most important problems are legal and administrative
Hamza Mazlum, Executive Director of Human Rights Solidarity, stated that ‘forced migration and refugees’ is one of the issues they focus on. Noting that hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers around the world are facing great problems, Mazlum reminded that international law has sufficient infrastructure to protect refugees and asylum seekers. Stating that the 1951 Geneva Convention and many other international texts and judicial decisions have clear and unambiguous provisions on the subject, Mazlum made the following assessment:
“However, in practice, states can ignore these rules and take very serious actions against the law. I think that since the interests of governments do not coincide with the rights of asylum seekers, the issue has completely turned into a struggle between civil society and states. In order to find a solution, the international community needs to defend the rights of asylum seekers as a whole. We are working with international organisations to overcome these problems, but the issue should also be well understood by civil society. I believe that the exhibition of the works of the cartoon contest in different centres will create an important awareness on this issue.”
Mazlum invited all organisations working in the field of human rights to establish a partnership to organise an exhibition for ‘Humanity Cartoons’. While emphasising that they can provide all kinds of support in this regard, he said that they are also open to making a joint programme.