Civil Society Forum on access to protection in Europe organized by the Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen took place in Brussels on 31 January and 1 February 2017.

Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen (Flemish Refugee Action) is an independent, non-governmental organization that defends the rights and interests of refugees and asylum seekers in Belgium. This organization is also a member of the ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles).

With 90 Member organisations in 38 countries ECRE aims to influence the European agenda to promote the protection and integration of all individuals who seek refuge and protection within Europe.

The scale of immigration has now reached with serious consequences. In 2015 the number of international migrants in the world reached 244 million people. During the third quarter of 2016, overall number of persons seeking asylum from non-EU countries in the EU member states reached 358 300. Majority from them were from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Forum held in Brussels was a unique event

Apart from the various organizations, associations and foundations from more than 10 countries of the EU, International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF) officially registered in Azerbaijan since 1992 was presented by the Chairman Umud Mirzayev. IEPF has wide experience in working with migrants, asylum seekers and IDPs. IEPF is a member of ECRE during the last 10 years. 

U.Mirzayev said: ‘Migrants are not a problem just one country. This is a global problem that requires a global approach.’

The unique location of Azerbaijan at the crossroads between Europe and Asia attracts a lot of migrants from Central Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. They use Azerbaijan as a transit state on the way to Europe or as a country of final destination, considering the rapid economic development of the country. In addition, it is important to remember that Azerbaijan is very well familiar with the problem of refugees and migrants. As a result of the war against Azerbaijan by Armenia, more than 1 million refugees and internally displaced persons appeared in Azerbaijan since the time of the SU collapse. Hence, Europe can gain a lot while establishing good and cooperative migration policy with Azerbaijan. 

Eurasia Diary media portal was presented in Europe

In addition to the Forum, Chairman of the IEPF also attended the ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles) Media Officers Network (EMON) meeting held in the ECRE office. U.Mirzayev presented the International Analytical Information Gateway - Eurasia Diary operating under the IEPF and publishing information in 5 different languages. Despite its young age, Eurasia Diary is one of the most important media portals with thousands of followers. Eurasia-Diary is aspiring exchange of ideas on conflict resolution at global and regional level in particular, for analyzing and establishing discussion platform.


The presentation had a great success and was met with a storm of applause.

The participants agreed to unite the efforts in order to better respond to the needs of asylum seekers and migrants not only in the countries of the EU but also in the countries far beyond.