Just Citizens has appointed a panel of migrant advisors, who will help shape the work of the project over the next year in making the case of a model of social citizenship in Scotland.
The Just Citizens panel members come from a variety of migrant backgrounds and include EU citizens, EU and international students, migrant workers, asylum seekers, refugees and more. Countries of origin include Turkey, Romania, Pakistan, Syria, Uganda, Italy, Nigeria, Canada and more.
They bring with them a wide range of professional experience, which includes journalism, law, medicine, running businesses, and working as rights advisers and campaigners.
Some have left their home countries to work or study or join family in the UK. Others have been forced to flee human rights abuses including torture. Several have experienced destitution in Scotland.
Calling for change
All have also experienced discrimination facing migrants in Scotland and have joined our advisors panel because they want to work for change.
The 13-strong panel will work alongside the Just Citizens team, making use its legal, policy and communications expertise to make the case for equal citizen rights, regardless of immigration status.
In the coming months they will agreed to focus on advocating for migrant rights on:
- Education and skills
- Employment (including the right to work) and benefits
- Housing and homelessness
- Health and wellbeing
- Political participation
The panel is being co-faciliated by equality campaigner Talat Yaqoob, who is advising Just Citizens on policy, and journalist Karin Goodwin who is advising on communications.
The full panel will meet every four to six weeks, with additional projects planned. These include citizen journalism and community-based research with the panel finding new ways not only to share their own experiences, but also their findings, with policy makers and politicians.
Talat said: “We have such a wealth of expertise on the panel, both in terms of their lived experience through the migration system but also a range of campaigning and professional experience. Their input and leadership is vital in creating a fairer Scotland for migrants”
Karin added: “Though our advisors have very different migration routes each member of the panel has the same drive to help improve migrants’ rights.
“The Just Citizens project proposes that we don’t need to wait for Westminster to make that change – much can already be delivered within our devolved powers, right here in Scotland.
“That is what our advisors will be looking at, and we are here to support them.”
Our Just Citizens include:
Cosmo Neacsu (Romania/Portugal)
Glory Omoaka (Nigeria)
Ina Babu (Romania)
Pinar Aksu (Turkey)
Micheal Matovu (Uganda)
Abid Siddiq (Pakistan)
Dorota Peskowska (Poland)
Khabat Malarasheed (Syria)
Shaina Gabi (Canada)
Francesco Brunelli (Italy)
See their biographies in full.