Migration: Idealism vs. Pragmatism

Event date 23 Oct '18 18:00 - 19:30 A (UTC +1)
Event location Humanity House • Prinsegracht 8, The Hague, 2512 GA, Netherlands

According to John Dalhuisen, former director for Europe at Amnesty International, humanitarian organizations should compromise on their ethical and moral standards, when it comes to migration. In the face of surging support for far right parties and political agendas, they have to search for humane migration policies that are sellable to the majority of the European citizens. Dalhuisen explains his argumentation, during the first edition of ‘Humanitarian Controversies’ . 

Migration is one of the biggest humanitarian issues of our time. People flee poverty and seek security in Europe. But many European citizens fear uncontrolled migration, and perceive it as a threat to their own culture, security and prosperity. How should humanitarian organizations position themselves, now that the call for a fortress Europe is getting stronger? Should they continue to hold on to their moral values, or be more willing to bend to the public opinion?  

John Dalhuisen worked for many years at Amnesty International. He resigned in May 2018, expressing dissatisfaction with the organizational approach to migration. Now Dalhuisen works for the European Stability Initiative, the think tank of Gerald Knaus, architect of the Turkey Deal. According to Dalhuisen, humanitarian organizations are being imprisoned by their own idealism, especially when it comes to migration. He calls on to them to be brave enough to search for a compromis with politicians such as Merkel and Macron, and to come up with a border control that is humane and legal, but also sellable to European citizens. 

About John Dalhuisen

John Dalhuisen is a Senior Fellow at European Stability Initiative. He was Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme and Regional Office from 2012 to 2017. He had joined Amnesty International in 2007 as a researcher on discrimination in Europe, becoming Deputy Director in 2010 covering the former Soviet Union. Between 2001 and 2006, he was Special Adviser to the first Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2007 and studied Philosophy at Edinburgh University and Humboldt University in Berlin.

About the rest of the speakers

The other speakers will be announced here shortly.