“Refugees don’t want your pity, they want your respect” – Graham Clifford, Founder and CEO of Sanctuary Runners told the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement conference held at the International Conference Centre in Geneva last week.
The event brings together UNHCR, UN Member States, the private sector, academia, NGOs and refugees to discuss and advance resettlement policy and this year was chaired by the Government of Ireland, represented by the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) in the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and co-chaired by Nasc Ireland.
Sanctuary Runners was invited as a panelist by Nasc Ireland and Graham Clifford spoke to hundreds of delegates about the importance of our work on mental health and the wider area of community integration.
He said afterwards: “It was an honour to join wonderful organisations such as girlpowerorg.com and Artolution.org on the plenary session panel to discuss what we do across Ireland with energy, passion and pride. We believe that community integration is absolutely vital for the mental health of those who have come to our country seeking safety and sanctuary – but also for people living in Ireland already. Its all about building bridges over which people can travel, joining groups, combatting isolation and stigma and highlighting the fact that we all deserve equal respect and opportunity in life regardless of our nationality or legal status.”
Groups from Australia, the U.S, Sweden and elsewhere were interested to find out more and the opportunity to present in Geneva was a watershed moment for our organisation.