DARE – Democratic Action of Refugees in Europe

The workshop is part of the project DARE – Democratic Action of Refugees in Europe realised by the Human Rights Cities Network with the support of ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy and co-funded by the European Union.

The main goal of the project is to promote the participation of first-time voters with refugee background in the upcoming EU elections, and to enhance their democratic engagement at local level beyond the 2024 EU Elections.


Aim of the project

Given the current backsliding of democracy in Europe and the importance of voting to safeguard democracy, it is essential to uphold electoral rights of all citizens in the upcoming European Elections.  There is an urgent need to engage the first-time voters with refugee background.

The participation of refugees in the democratic processes, including in the forthcoming European Union (EU) Elections, is crucial for fostering active citizenship and ensuring the representation of diverse voices in decision-making processes. 

This project focuses on a specific topic that is rarely considered in election campaigns and in the conversations about active citizenship, namely the participation of people with refugee background who have recently obtained citizenship in an EU country. Former refugees who sought asylum in the EU during the so called “refugee crisis” in 2015-2016 have become eligible for the acquisition of citizenship in their host countries those who have obtained it will be first time voters in EU Parliament elections in June 2024.

Their voices matter not only to ensure the representation of their interests but also for the quality of European democracy. Therefore, it is fundamental to encourage them to be informed and to participate in the elections, but also to follow up with specific actions at policy level to reinforce the sense of belonging to the EU after the 2024 EU Elections.

The inclusive participation of this underrepresented group in the democratic life responds to two key priorities:

  1. To enhance their understanding of their fundamental human rights and promote EU rights and values at the local level; 
  2. To build awareness of the EU’s role and enhance its impact at the community level.

A few facts

There is no official data showing the total number of people with refugee background who have recently acquired the citizenship of an EU country and are eligible to vote at EU elections for the first time.

This in itself shows the lack of representation of this segment of society and the urgent need to engage with them. Among the target group of first-time voters with refugee background, there are young people under 30 and women, and therefore mainstreaming gender equality and youth participation in decision-making will be part of all project stages.

By focusing on first time voters with refugee background, the project addresses their human rights and their needs linked to inclusion and democratic participation, while applying an intersectional approach based on equality and anti-discrimination.

The activities of the project are in line with the three thematic hubs priorities and will contribute to their achievement and positive social change.

Project Activities:

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