The University Rector, Ricardo Mairal Usón, and the Councilor from Melilla, Daniel Ventura Rizo, have signed the research project today, which will focus on establishing the scientific basis of the migratory phenomenon of unaccompanied foreign minors (UAMs).
Ricardo Mairal, UNED Rector, and Daniel Ventura, Social Welfare Councilor of the Autonomous City of Melilla, have signed today the management entrustment for the development of the European Research Center in Policies and Action on Minors and Migration (ECRPAMM)/Centro Europeo de Investigación, Políticas y Acción para los Menores y la Migración (CEIPAMM). Both representatives were accompanied by the Vice-Rector of Research, Knowledge Transfer and Scientific Outreach, Rosa María Martín Aranda; the Dean of Law Faculty, Manuel Díaz Martínez; the Director of the Office for Research Results Transfer of the UNED (OTRI), Sixto Jansa; the Research Deputy Dean of the Law Faculty, Mercedes Curto; and the Professor of the Department of Social Work of the Law Faculty, Sagrario Segado, main researcher in the new project. Based on this new agreement, during the next four years (2019-2022) the Ministry of Social Welfare of Melilla will finance the research and organization of international seminars aimed at providing scientific basis to the migratory phenomenon of the UAMs, an issue that both Mairal and Ventura have agreed in describing as “crucial and highly topical”.
The councilor pointed that “We currently have around 1,000 UAMs in Melilla, and all the information related to them is not scientific or contrasted, but distorted and used in a self-interested manner. This is the reason why we want to know what we are doing, what we are doing wrong and mainly, how to improve a global phenomenon which has the south gate of Europe in Melilla.
The rector added that “It is our will to bring the university closer to social challenges and the sustainable development goals of the current European agendas. One of those great challenges is migration and, especially, the case of minors involved in it. The UNED will always be there, providing the best we have: science, since I consider research essential to respond to social needs”.
Both Ventura and Mairal thanked the work of Professor Sagrario Segado Sánchez-Cabezudo, whose previous work has served to consolidate the agreement and to make the Council stand up for this management charge as a way for its continuation. Professor Segado focusses on the areas of child welfare, migration, transparency, decision-making processes and systems of welfare states. She has developed several projects in collaboration with Melilla´s Council and UNED center, such as the holding of three annual international seminars on the phenomenon of unaccompanied foreign minors, with the attendance of prominent national and international experts in the field. She has also published scientific articles and reports. The fourth international seminar is already underway and will be held on the 25th and 26th of April 2019 in the city of Melilla.
For Segado, the signing of this agreement means “Having the necessary resources to be able to do research on a global social phenomenon in the autonomous city. Up to 98% of unaccompanied minors enter our country and the rest of Europe through Melilla. We must not forget that Melilla is also the southern border of Europe. It is essential that research as well as interventions be coordinated at national and European level. In this sense, the co-director of ECRPAMM will be the Professor of Sociology at the University of Bergen (Norway), Marit Skivenes, and the center will have researchers from all European countries to get a national, international and multidisciplinary approach.
Future actions will include regular seminars to update and coordinate the knowledge and research carried out, publication of books and articles, competition for European calls and a constant flow of information and exchange of knowledge with key European state and private centers in this area.
Photography: José Rodríguez