Tag: Migration

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Articles & StatementsEventsImmigration Committee

‘Humanity Cartoons’ in London squares

Winning cartoons from ‘2nd Int’l Migration Cartoons Competition’ by HRS and Time to Help UK exhibited in London’s key locations. The winning works of the ‘2nd International Migration Cartoons Competition’ organised by Human Rights Solidarity (HRS) and Time to Help UK were exhibited in important centres of London. 20 of the works titled ‘Humanity Cartoons’ were presented to the attention of the public in an interactive open-air exhibition held one week apart, first in Pancras Square and then in Trafalgar Square.

The exhibition, which drew attention to one of the most important agendas of the world, migration and immigration, remained in the square for more than 2 hours each. HRS and Time to Help volunteers explained the problems faced by refugees and migrants to the crowd viewing the exhibition and answered questions.

Each of the works emphasises the reasons why migrants leave their countries, the difficult conditions they are in and the human rights violations they are exposed to. They also criticise countries and institutions that make the lives of migrants more difficult instead of trying to solve the problems.

Our statement about the exhibition titled ‘Humanity Cartoons’ is as follows:

Humanity Cartoons is a joint project of Time to Help and Human Rights Solidarity. These are two registered charities in England and Wales. Time to Help is active in humanitarian aid; and Human Rights Solidarity works on human rights. Immigration and asylum is an issue where these two areas of charitable work come together.

Immigration and asylum are among the most important topics of discussion in the world today. The migration flow from East to West and from South to North is growing exponentially every year. Last year, approximately 80.000 people have applied for asylum in the UK. According to a UN report, more than 108 million people were forcibly displaced by the end of 2022.

This mobility brings with it economic, social and political problems. People who leave their countries at the risk of death face brand new problems in the countries they think of as ‘safe harbours’. Some are arrested, some deported and yet others lose their mental health within years of uncertainty imposed on them.

By using the language of art, we want to raise social awareness about this vital issue and contribute to the solution of this human tragedy. For this purpose, 768 artists from many countries submitted 1,278 works to the cartoon competition on ‘migration and immigration’. The wonderful cartoons you see here have been selected from these drawings.

Each of the works emphasises the reasons why migrants leave their countries, the difficult conditions they live in and the human rights violations they are exposed to. As people living in peace and prosperity, we have to think about them. Like every human being, they have the right to live freely. We should extend all kinds of helping hands to them and create the safe living conditions they need. The United Kingdom must be welcoming refugees.

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‘Humanity Cartoons’ competition was finalised

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.