The Organisation for Universal Citizenship (OUC) was set up in 2013 by Emmaus International, the France Libertés-Danielle Mitterrand Foundation and the Utopia movement. Its aim is to promote freedom of movement of people and of settlement. Indeed, it is clear that the majority of national and regional policies refuse to welcome exiled persons. Instead, exiled persons are subject to instability and acute vulnerability, often in breach of international human rights agreements signed by governments. The OUC therefore seeks to weigh in, at a global and multilateral level, to ensure states consider the voices, expertise and demands of those concerned, whether from exiled persons directly or through civil society organisations that support them.
Firstly, the OUC strategy aims to promote a more positive discourse on migration to ensure exiled persons are seen as human beings, a far cry from the violent stigmatisation that these people experience. We want to demonstrate that by welcoming people with dignity, exiled persons are a source of wealth and vitality in the territories that accept them, whereas policies that repress and suppress only cause chaos and misery.
As is the case for those who knock on the door of the Emmaus communities, the OUC defends the need to welcome and involve exiled persons so that they find their place in our societies, obtain the ‘right to live’ in the territories where they settle and are able to develop. This radically different approach aims to inspire other public policies at local, national, and international level.
At the end of 2019, the OUC and the National Association of Welcoming Cities and Territories (ANVITA) joined forces to launch the ‘Migration Alliance’. This alliance between civil society organisations and local authorities from across the world, who have chosen to jointly develop local policies that welcome exiled persons, is based on inspiring practices that take various forms, including the creation of foreign residents’ committees, issuing of a resident’s card regardless of legal status, access to projects financed by the city’s participatory budget, etc. The Alliance has drawn up a ‘common foundation’ for its implementation and promotion and aims to provide a common understanding of the failings of states, in addition to participating in a movement to ‘rehumanise’ migration policies.