Extended Asylum Policy and Anti-Racism during the Last Day

RFSL:s Kongress 2016RFSL

The congress' last day was marked by two important decisions. RFSL will invest in an expanded work on asylum issues and also adopted an anti-racist action plan.

Extended Asylum Policy

During the last day, the congress made a decision about an extended asylum policy for RFSL.

Some of the most important standpoints are that RFSL continues to give support to people even if their application has been rejected by the Migration Agency, that the organisation advocates legal non-violence methods to prevent deportations and that the organisation never will assist authorities in deportations.

The background is that the new tougher rules for refugees that step by step have been introduced in Sweden since the fall of 2015 risk affecting LGBTQ-refugees especially hard.

Röstning i plenum

”The obstacles in the form of temporary identification controls to enter the country must be abolished. The suggested changes to the Aliens Act, that undermine the right to asylum and family reuniting, must be restored. The orientation towards temporary residence permits must be re-evaluated”, wrote the Association Board of Trustees in their proposition that was the basis of the decision.

The proposition had many additional requests, one on defense constructions provoked discussion in the plenary.

Action Plan for Anti-Racism

The congress also decided to adopt an anti-racist action plan for 2016-2018.

– The action plan is meant to be used in practice and to make it possible to demand responsibility. The work must be done in all instances, from member to highest decision making body, said Deidre Palacios from the Association Board of Trustees that presented the proposition.

The decision means that a mapping of the organisation will be done. Through surveys the members, the trustees and the staff’s experiences of internal structures and processes will be documented.

The anti-racist workgroup will also investigate on how those who are subject to racism within the organisation would be able to report it in a safe way.

Deidree

Deidre Palacios was happy after the Association Board of Trustees’ proposal for an anti-racist action plan had been accepted at congress.

– It is a huge step for the anti-racist work within RFSL. The action plan will be a tool for everyone to use within the organisation. The anti-racist work will be conducted by the individual and the collective. What I am extra proud about regarding the action plan is that it specifies everybody’s responsibility; the Nominating Committee’s, the Association Board of Trustees’, the Board’s, the branches’ and the National Office’s. .

Membership and Operational Plan

The cost of a year’s membership was set at 100 SEK and the membership fee for asylum seekers and people without documents was set at 10 SEK per year.

Helena Carlsson

Helena Carlsson, President of RFSL Luleå and northern Norrbotten county, was happy about the decisions on the membership fees, and that they will continue to be on a yearly basis.

The last day of congress contained, apart from many decisions, a presentation of the operational plan.

– LGBTQ individuals’ human rights is the main issue and focal point of all our work, said vice President Magnus Kolsjö during the presentation of the operational plan.

Asylum and migration issues were targeted as important issues to continue, and expand, working on. The work for trans and intersex individuals’ rights was also discussed. RFSL also wants to explore the possibility of keeping on working with issues through legal processes, which has been a successful way of doing advocacy in the last few years.

Magnus Kolsjö

– The debate in society has shifted. Sweden was a welcoming country, but has become a lot less welcoming. This is an important issue for us, we must make a mark in the debate and contribute to a conversation about solidarity. We want to create more Newcomers activity and look at the housing situation for asylum seekers that are subject to threats of violence at the asylum housing available today, said Magnus Kolsjö.

In the organizational work RFSL wants to focus on increased accessibility, the inclusion of intersex issues and an increased anti-racist work. RFSL also hopes to be able to start a member magazine again.