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Brussels, 6 December 2017 - In a climate of divisive rhetoric and xenophobic populism from political leaders in Europe, JRS Europe’s new research published today shows that overwhelming numbers of Europeans actively welcome and include forced migrants in our societies.

“Our findings show that politicians are lagging behind ordinary citizens when it comes to the social inclusion of forced migrants,” says JRS Europe director Jose Ignacio Garcia.

“It is time for governments around Europe to support, invest in and learn from civil society initiatives that pave the way for successful and dynamic communities, where all members, new and old have space to contribute.”

The ‘I Get You’ final report draws on two years of in-depth research and campaigning with 315 community-building initiatives in nine EU countries. It analyses how grassroots initiatives that bring migrants and locals together for activities such as sports, cooking, language learning etc. break down stereotypes and create mutual trust through encounter. Welcome, friendship and a sense of belonging are the first steps to integration.

“I Get You answers the crucial question that we have today as individuals, communities and countries: do you choose isolation or inclusion? If people feel welcomed, loved and supported they will reach their potential. Nothing could be more win-win than that,” concludes Garcia.

I Get You was co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union

I Get You European Report available here

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