Michelle van Burik
Michelle is advocacy coordinator of Roma Utrecht & Roma Advocacy Network Netherlands. Her experience is built on the help given in individual cases as well on the political lobbying conducted on the statelessness issue. Next to this, grassroots mobilisation and community engagement are focused on including raising awareness on the effects of antigypsyism related to statelessness. She is active at local, national and European level.
I have been working as a humanitarian worker for almost 10 years with different organizations starting with UNHCR in Syria as a case worker and then as a senior child protection officer . As a Palestinian refugee living in Syria it was hard to live within the bad security situation during the war so the only option I had is to flee to Netherlands where I was considered a stateless. Being identified as a stateless person was not easy and made me think that we should pay more attention to this group and identify the risks and problems for this group and trying to find solution and make more awareness among the communities about it. Especially that whenever I am asked about the status on my residence permit and and I say it is stateless people have no idea what it means . in my point of view , there should be more awareness about statelessness as a legal term and then more deep in assessment for stateless people to tackle the issues they face in the country of asylum.
Recently my activities has been with NEW WOMEN CONNECTORS and vluchtelingenwerk Eindhoven and this issue of statelessness is one of things that I am dealing with.