Skopje – In line with the activity plan of the EU-funded IPA II Project “Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey” and the Annual Program of Activities of the Albanian Presidency in Office, MARRI Regional Centre organized a Heads of Asylum Departments meeting.  The meeting, that took place in the premises of the Regional Centre, gathered Heads/Senior advisors in MARRI Participants’ Asylum Departments as well as caseworkers experienced in conducting asylum interviews. MARRI Committee Chair Antonela Dhimolea, IOM IPA II Regional Project Manager Donatella Bradic and MARRI RC Director Ambassador Tamara Mugosa delivered opening remarks.

The meeting reflected one of the priorities of the Albanian Presidency-in-Office: boosting regional cooperation in the area of asylum. The main topic of discussion was operationalisation of the “Protocol on the Use of Joint Interpretation Pool in the Area of Migration and Asylum” which was signed by all six MARRI Participants. The organization of the meeting was supported by International Organisation for Migration (IOM) under the above mentioned regional IPA II project.

Preceding the meeting, IOM upgraded the MARRI rare language interpretation platform ( with new features, making it simpler and easier to use for both Asylum Department caseworkers and rare language interpreters. In addition, IOM will fund a holistic and reliable audio and video conferencing solution allowing secure and uninterrupted remote interpretation for asylum interviews.

The attendees commended MARRI and IOM for their commitment to support MARRI Participants in ensuring protection-sensitive migration management in the Western Balkans region. They applauded the establishment of the rare language interpretation platform while recommending to explore possibilities for its further expansion for initial contact with migrants at border crossing points.

WB6 Asylum Department representatives confirmed that there are no obstacles for provision of remote interpretation in their respective national legislations. To put this in practice, further consultations will be initiated with a view to resolve outstanding issues with expert support.

Asylum Departments will continue to collaborate with MARRI in updating the regional pool with rare language interpreters and in establishing technical and administrative conditions for practical use of the rare language interpretation platform. The platform will be tested during the Fall 2018 and implemented in MARRI Participants by the end of the year.

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17 April 2018, MARRI Heads of Asylum Departments Meeting