On December 13-14, 2022, the easyRights project consortium gathered at a meeting in Milan, Italy to evaluate the success of its work to better help (im)migrants access their rights and to present its results and impact to representatives of the European Commission (EC). The meeting was hosted by the project coordinator, Politecnico di Milano, and all the consortium partners were present to showcase the results achieved during the 35 month project.
“Having a home, being able to work and make friends are all basic human rights and the way related services or procedures are made available, explained and/or guided is crucial for these to be guaranteed.” explained Grazia Concilio, easyRights coordinator. Questions that those working with (im)migrants need to ask include, how to reduce the risk of immigrants experiencing denial and infringement of a right due to mere administrative or bureaucratic reason? What measures can be put in place to ensure human rights are guaranteed? “Ensuring (im)migrant rights are guaranteed is a first crucial step towards societal integration which can be seen as one unique wide right encasing all others” continued Concilio.
Leveraging this principle, the easyRights project team worked with (im)migrants and (im)migration workers to conceive access interfaces that simplified and eased the process of obtaining public services. The aim was to reduce the number of obstacles that people must overcome to access services they are entitled to, from finding the right service department in the first place, to understanding requirements, accessing the correct forms, and improving language skills for non-native speakers for easier communication.
Solutions were explored and developed through two international hackathons, and through co-creation activities centered in four locations, Larissa in Greece, Malaga, Spain, Palermo in Italy, and Birmingham, UK. “Through our work on the ground across Europe we gained a more nuanced understanding of the kinds of services and requirements that matter most to newly arrived individuals” stated Concilio.
Outcomes include the easyRights Bot on Telegram. The chat agent supports (im)migrants by understanding their needs and taking them directly to the public service pages they require, without them needing to navigate complex public sector websites themselves. Once a service has been accessed the Capeesh app helps the user better understand the administrative procedure through gamified vocabulary learning focused specifically on that service. Finally, the CALST platform helps users with more difficult pronunciation. Pronunciation is very important when communicating with others and a deeper understanding of how to say important official terms make conversations with civil servants smoother.
Alongside dedicated support tools for accessing human rights, the easyRights consortium is in the process of developing a new and innovative standard – the Mediation Grammar - for assessing and benchmarking the outcomes of services delivered to refugees and regular migrants by local government bodies and agencies. “This standard is designed to help and guide public administrations in designing and delivering services that fulfil migrants’ rights in a more effective manner” explained Concilio. “It focuses on three core identified challenges, language accessibility, information adequacy and actualization of rights”.
To become an official European standard, the easyRights Consortium is continuing working with the Italian Standardization Body (UNI) to develop a first draft that can be submitted to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).
The meeting in Milan ended with congratulations from the European Commission Project Officer (PO) for all the hard work undertaken by the consortium, and with commitment from the project partners to push the standard through to completion to deliver long-lasting impact for both (im)migrants and public servants long after the project ends. “Migration can transform communities and societies for the better when human rights are respected and adhered to”, concluded Concilio. “Further commitment to innovation, inclusion and partnership will make this a reality for all”.
More info on the easyRights solutions, services and the Mediation Grammar standard may be found on the project website at: www.easyrights.eu/.