Inspiring Approaches

PalermoThe Charter of Palermo

What is inspiring?

The Charter of Palermo is a political manifesto, launched following an international conference of civil society institutions and initiatives, and approved by the city council in March 2015. It is composed of several chapters, devoted to specific aspects of migration and rights, such as border regimes, the need to revise EU legislation and Italian citizenship laws, protection, political participation, work, housing, health, vulnerable migrants and unaccompanied minors. Its subtitle reads: “From the [sic] migration as suffering, to mobility as an inalienable human right.”


Comune di Palermo, Quarta Commissione: Solidarietà Sociali (City of Palermo, Fourth Commission: Social Solidarity Department)


What happened after the Charter was launched?

Although the Charter is non-binding, it has provided a platform and served as a catalyst for those activists and politicians campaigning for a more progressive migration policy and who are critical of the EU and most of its member states’ approaches to migration. Examples include the manifesto “We, the cities of Europe,” launched by the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, in September 2015, or the Palermo Charter Platform Process, an initiative which has brought together civil society organisations and European cities “to strengthen our work in the Mediterranean Sea and the transnational collaboration between Solidarity Cities in Europe (…) in the spirit of the Charter of Palermo”.

What is the outcome?

Overall, the Charter has been a crucial reference point for progressive actors who are critical of existing approaches to migration across Europe. The Charter demonstrates how at specific historical moments the calling out of failings and a clear public stance can be powerful drivers of change.

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