Advocacy

Alongside its medical projects, EMERGENCY has always been committed to promoting a message of peace and respect for human rights.Only by clearly identifying the causes of war is it possible to discover the full extent of its horror and injustice.

Only by denouncing such horrors and injustices can we convince the public of its inadequacy as an instrument for the resolution of conflicts, and of the need to overcome it. Awareness campaigns and the promotion of a culture of peace advanced EMERGENCY’s reputation. From its earliest years, the organisation has established a clear stance against landmines and war, helping to inform public opinion thanks to its first-hand experience in the field.

As the issues of war and migration are currently subject to manipulation and distortion, EMERGENCY made the decision to step up its commitment to discussing these topics. In 2018, we began advocacy on multiple levels to try and promote change in both public and institutional opinion [1].

We believe the abolition of war is an urgent necessity.
This goal will be fundamental to EMERGENCY’s cultural work over the coming years.
We can’t cope anymore.
We can no longer stand to see humanity broken like this, all these people dying because of this stupid, crazy illness.

Gino Strada,

Surgeon and Founder of EMERGENCY

The starting point for EMERGENCY’s advocacy is always observation and analysis of its work in the field: quantitative data collected in hospitals and across different projects, as well as qualitative elements – stories and direct experiences of conflict and poverty. These are the building blocks of our public campaigns.

This data is shared within the organisation’s decision-making bodies, and is subsequently reviewed alongside that of research institutes, other NGOs, and international bodies, including UN agencies, SIPRI, and ISTAT. Once assessed, and considering the broader political context, strategic activism priorities are determined: awareness campaigns and specific actions aimed at institutional audiences.

Once issues have been identified, the Communications Office has the task of framing the message, developing tools, and identifying promotion channels.

EMERGENCY’s communication is based on the principle that medical science must be available to all patients, on an equal basis and without discrimination.


THE MAIN THEMES ADDRESSED DURING 2018

 

INSTITUTIONAL ADVOCACY

On the instructions of the Board of Directors, EMERGENCY’s Executive Committee determines the advocacy work intended to address both Italian and international institutions, while the Field Operations Department (responsible for coordinating humanitarian projects) and the President oversee implementation.[2].

In 2018, on the occasion of the proposal by the Italian government and subsequent discussion in Parliament of the Security Decree (Legislative Decree 113/2018), which was then approved and became Law 132/2018 on 1 December of the same year, the Tavolo Asilo became the promoter of a series of amendments to express concern about the serious consequences that the measures planned by Security decree 113/18 would have had on the protection of individual and collective health guaranteed by the Italian Constitution.

In particular, EMERGENCY has reported the risks associated with abolishing the residence permit for humanitarian protection and the mere introduction of a residence permit ‘for medical treatment’, which is not sufficient to guarantee asylum seekers the same rights provided for by the residence permit for humanitarian reasons, such as compulsory registration with the national health service or access to employment.

In 2018, EMERGENCY participated in several international conferences on the theme of migration, unaccompanied foreign minors and the universal right to treatment, such as the 4th meeting of the European Migration Forum in Brussels (6-7 March 2018), the ‘Unstable Childhood’ seminar at the University of Genoa (5-6 April 2018) and the 8th Consultative Forum of the European Asylum Support Office – EASO in Brussels (5 December 2018).

On the topic of war, EMERGENCY UK contributed to an All-Party Parliamentary Group inquiry into the use and distribution of explosive ordnance, above all in relation to assistance for victims, offering our testimony and technical expertise and co-authoring the report, which states results and gives policy advice.

EMERGENCY focuses its communication and advocacy activities on four main themes:

RIGHT TO TREATMENT

We believe that medical treatment is a fundamental human right and should be recognised as such for every individual: for treatment to be truly accessible, it must be completely free of charge; for it to be effective, it must be of high quality. Equality, Quality, Social Responsibility (EQS): as we expressed in the ‘Manifesto for a Human Rights-based Medicine’, these are principles that should guide health systems.

At the World Health Summit in Berlin in October 2018, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, recognised the importance of EMERGENCY’s Salam Centre in Sudan and the wider medical excellence programme, based on EQS principles, as a relevant model for the whole region. He shared our determination to bring free, high-quality healthcare to Africa.
“What impressed me the most about the Salam Centre is that, besides being run in a privatepublic partnership between EMERGENCY and the Sudanese government, it provides free treatment for people from Sudan and beyond. This model partnership between public and private sector should be replicated everywhere else, along with governments to be gradually more and more involved in allocating the necessary economic resources and ensuring effective services. We need other projects to be based on the same principles and on the provision of high-quality services to allow even complex cases to be treated according to high international medical standards.

ABOLITION OF WAR

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the basis for a fair, free society. “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

To stress to the world that every human being is born free and equal in dignity and rights, on 10 December 2018, on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we went into squares in more than 85 Italian towns and cities along with other organisations. Together with tens of thousands of people, we demonstrated that it is possible to go against racism, hatred, violence and inhumanity. We made our voice heard, tearing away the veil of indifference


MIGRATION

In December 2018, EMERGENCY launched the editorial project ‘Where the grass trembles.
Invisible lives in the Italian countryside’, created in collaboration with the cartoonists Gianluca Costantini, Simona Binni, Mattia Surroz and Sio, to narrate in words and images the reality of illegal hiring and exploitation of farm workers.The project is divided into three chapters, each set in a symbolic place of these modern forms of slavery in the food supply chain: ‘At the Edge of Spring’ in Castel Volturno in Campania, ‘The Beautiful Season’ in the Capitanata area in Apulia and ‘The Land Without Land’ on Piana di Gioia Tauro in Calabria.

The combination of texts and illustrations provide a vivid snapshot of a reality made up of tin shacks, gruelling working shifts, slave-like living conditions and non-existent wages, with rights and dignity denied.

At EMERGENCY’s facilities in these areas, we meet the most vulnerable people in this network of exploitation, the ‘invisible’: not only newly-arrived migrants, but also Italians and legal immigrants who have slipped through the cracks of the health system after losing their jobs, homes and rights. Whatever the journey that brought them to us, they are first and foremost human beings


INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

On 21 March 2018 EMERGENCY President Rossella Miccio took part in the hearing of the sub-committee on human rights at the European Parliament in Brussels, presenting the organisation’s humanitarian approach in emergencies.

EMERGENCY always proposes a medium- and long-term approach, including crises that require rapid, effective solutions in the short term. These must be followed by a process of recovery and reconstruction, therefore we consider it a priority to invest in quality interventions, always guaranteeing synergy between humanitarian aid and long-term development projects.

EMERGENCY shares this vision with the European Union, which in the field of Nexus policies ascribes great importance to the connection between humanitarian aid, as a rapid response measure in crisis situations, and further medium- and long-term development actions.