- Combating social exclusion: Integra the refugee partnership project report
- A comparative study of Bosnian, Kurdish Somali and Senegalese communities in the UK, Germany, Denmark and Italy
- Waters, Nicholas; Freda, Belinda
This study aimed to compare the experiences of Bosnian, Kurdish, Somali and Senegalese communities within the UK, Germany, Denmark and Italy and to examine the impact of policies, legal regulation and services on the host countries on these communities. The research aimed to gain more information about the selected communities and to propose advice, guidance and training interventions for refugees in general. The research also aimed to influence policy by highlighting good practice and issues which need addressing.
Data were collected the four selected communities from official sources and through meetings with members of the selected communities. A team in each country was responsible for writing reports which focused on one community across the four countries. The data gathered in the UK refers specifically to London. The community groups were studied in reference to a selection of headings and categories, including representation/organisation in the host country, education, employment and the position of women. The study was challenging due to variations in statistical data and terminology between the selected European states.
This summary focuses on the UK findings for each community. In the UK, Bosnian communities appear to be well organised. Due to the large number of Bosnians in Germany, information and social centres were established throughout the country. In Denmark and Italy, however, there are fewer community organisations for Bosnians. Some newspapers and magazines from Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia are available to buy in London. In the UK and Italy, there is no political pressure for Bosnians to return home. However, in Germany and Denmark financial incentives were offered to Bosnians to repatriate. The level of education and professional qualifications among Bosnians appears to be quite high. In the UK, younger Bosnians have successfully continued their education and training. Older Bosnians have lower levels of English and many older Bosnians have not been able to find employment. Women have usually adopted the role of housewife, some working part-time.
This study focuses on the Turkish Kurdish community. In the UK there are between 50-60,000 Kurds living in London where community organisations are well organised and effective. Most are registered charities and have been established for at least fifteen years. Kurdish newspapers published in Germany and Turkey are sent to London. In the UK, it is estimated that on arrival 20% of Kurdish people are uneducated. 60-70% have a very basic level of education and 10-20% have third level education. In a 1997 survey, 92.6% of Kurdish refugees in Haringey described their level of English as "poor" or "none". In the UK the position of Kurdish women can depend on religion. Alevi women appear more independent while Shafi and Sunni women are expected to dress more traditionally and have less social independence.
In the UK Somalis are among the main asylum applicant nationalities. The Somali community has strong historical links with the UK, and is one of the better established and organised communities in London. In the UK, a voluntary repatriation project to Somalila was operational during 1999. In Denmark and the UK the Somali community appears to be well educated. However, Somalis tend to work in positions which are not commensurate with their skills and experience. Further, in the UK, the unemployment rate among Somali men is estimated to be around 87%. Many are very active and play an important role in their community groups. The clan tradition still exists in the UK but traditions are weaker among younger Somalis. Somali women have obtained considerable independence in host countries by engaging in positions of authority. In Denmark and the UK, Somalis have continued to use Khat.
The UK, Germany and Denmark do not appear to have noticeable Senegalese communities but there is a significant Senegalese community in Italy. Italy does not have an official repatriation policy to Senegal, although the need for a bilateral relationship with Senegal has begun to be realised. Approximately one third of Senegalese immigrants are highly educated. In Italy the Senegalese are mainly employed in the commerce sector. Traditionally Senegalese women are dependent on men. However, they are increasingly participating in small enterprises in the health care and domestic sectors.
• Integration services, such as language classes, should be widely available and part of the reception process;
• services should be appropriate for older community members;
• activities should include visits to places of interests to encourage independence and confidence in the new society;
• employment of refugees needs to be promoted to tackle the problem of the link between unemployment/inappropriate employment and mental health issues;
• governments and media should promote ‘positive’ campaigns to highlight awareness of the potential of a migrant workforce;
• there also should be more positive relations between the home and host countries;
• it is essential that there is access to clear data throughout EU states;
• data should distinguish between immigrants and asylum seekers, and the Kurdish ethnic group should be recognized;
• the label ‘ex-Yugoslav’ should be replaced with names of specific countries since the break up of Yugoslavia.
- Resource Type
- Research report
- Commissioned By
- University of Surrey
- Funded By
- European Social Fund