Refugees, Borders & Immigration Summit

Activists and politicians will discuss challenges regarding refugees, borders and immigration, both physically and digitally.

Refugees, Borders & Immigration Summit

The Refugees, Borders and Immigration Summit will take place in the city of Malmö, Sweden. The theme of the Summit falls within the topic Borders, Decolonialization and Racism, one of the 10 topics of the Human Rights Forum.

The summit is taking place in Malmö on Friday 20 August, and the event will have an international focus and target transnational situations and gather a broad participatory audience both digitally and physically. The event will be held in English and interpreted into French, Spanish, Swedish also including international sign language.   

The program is planned in close collaboration with executive partners Rainbow Railroad, ORAM Refugee, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International with strong support from regional organizations working with the LGBTQIA+ refugee community and the UNHCR. We are aiming for an inclusive event, covering contemporary situations and discussions, putting people with lived experiences at the center. 

We aim for a diverse range of speakers and participants comprising individuals with lived experiences, activists, elected officials from different parts of the world, government ministers from the Nordic region and officials from international organizations. 

The summit will cover topics such as displacement drivers, pathways, arrival at the destination country, the asylum seeking process and resettlement also including networking opportunities.  

Co-hosts of the summit are the Swedish LGBTQIA+ policy expert Ulrika Westerlundx and Alice Bah Kuhnke, Swedish member of the European Parliament and former Swedish Minister of Culture and Democracy.  

We recognize that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will have an influence on Copenhagen 2021. Therefore, we are guaranteeing various digital solutions to make sure that participants that cannot travel, can participate virtually. Within the limits of what is possible, we are working hard on solutions that guarantee an interactive digital program, taking into account the risk of unstable internet connections. Different parts of the summit will also be made available to the broader public after the event on different platforms, taking into account the safety and security of our participating audience and speakers.  

As the summit is a full day program, we expect participants to be arriving one or multiple days earlier. For that reason, there will be an official pre-summit program taking place on Thursday 19 August 2021, with opportunities to deepen one’s knowledge and awareness about and also meet with others dedicated to these topics.  

Amsterdam Rainbow Dress

During the Summit the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress will be on display to highlight discussions regarding forces displacement and the rights of LGBTI+ refugees.

This is a short documentary about the project and story behind Amsterdam Rainbow Dress, a Dutch initiative, made of the national flags of all countries that criminalise LGBTI+ people. It portrays the ambition behind the project; to demand visibility through conversations on LGTBI+ rights worldwide. A film directed by Moa Wiking.

Immigration is a subject which generates significant public debate all over the world, including in Denmark and Sweden. These discussions are often seen as separate from discussions about LGBTI+ inclusion. LGBTI+ immigrants, asylum-seekers and refugees are often marginalized in discussions about the challenges facing the LGBTI+ community. Dedicating a full day to the topic will create space for in-depth exchanges and discussions.


Malmö is home to 184 nationalities that create the diverse and international DNA of the city. Copenhagen 2021 and Malmö Pride decided to organize the Summit in Malmö because of its long history of immigration and resettlement, which bring with it both challenges and opportunities.

When World War II ended, the Swedish Red Cross and the Danish government drove survivors from concentration camps through Denmark to Malmö in the well-known white buses. Survivors of the holocaust found refuge in the 15th century castle Malmöhus.

Furthermore, numerous people fled the former Yugoslavia during the last Balkan Wars and found their new home in Sweden. In the last decade, thousands of Syrian people had to flee their home country because of war, and many relocated to Sweden. Most people arrived in Malmö where, with great effort, civil society worked together with authorities and other organizations helping refugees to resettle.

Tickets and registration

Participation in the physical and digital summit costs 500 SEK and 300 SEK, respectively.

The programs for the summit and the pre-summit will be made available soon in English, French, Spanish and Swedish. 

Digital participation: Registration of interest

Physical participation: Registration of interest

If you have any other questions, always feel free to reach out to our Interim Executive Producer Zoë Smith at

Summit Partners

Sign Language Interpretation

Speakers include
  • Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Eliza Reid, the First Lady of Iceland
  • Carina Nilsson, Mayor of Malmö
  • Ryan Joseph Figueiredo, Founder and Executive Director for Equal Asia Foundation
  • Eirene Chen, independent Specialist, SOGIESC Forced Displacement
  • Kimahli Powell, Executive Director of Rainbow Railroad
  • Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency
  • Danilo Manzano, Director of the Diverse Dialogue Organization
  • Justin Hilton, Founder Safe Place International and Safe Place Greece
  • Steve Roth, Executive Director of ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration
  • Dr. S. Chelvan, Head of Immigration and Public Law, 33 Bedford Row Chambers
  • Vanilla Hussien, Refugee Trans Initiative
  • Devon Matthews, Director of Programs at Rainbow Railroad
  • Mariano Ruiz, Project Coordinator at Fundación AMAL Argentina
  • Aino Gröndahl, Lawyer, specialized in SOGIESC asylum law
  • Wilson Tasurarira, PASSOP Programmes Manager
  • Miriam Gleckman-Krut, Sociology PhD candidate at the University of Michigan
Digital event

If you cannot attend the Refugees, Borders & Immigration Summit in person, you will be able to join and interact online.


20 August 2021


Interactive live stream


Online participation:
Registration of interest

Partners and Sponsors

See the full list of Partners and Sponsors