Syrian refugees - a boy and his father. Photo by Meabh Smith from Trócaire (Caritas Ireland)

We are living in times when the space for civil society organisations to influence migration and humanitarian policies is shrinking. Luckily, there are still important political fora where organisations like Caritas can bring the voice of the vulnerable people with whom we work. The Eastern Partnership’s panel on migration and asylum is such a forum.

Last 23-24 March, I had the opportunity to represent Caritas Europa at a Eastern Partnership’s expert meeting on border and migration management in emergency situations that result in mass migration and involve large numbers of vulnerable migrants, notably in war-stricken regions. There, I talked about how Caritas’ global presence and its grass-rooted structure frames our way to craft our emergency responses.

Caritas is normally already present when an emergency hits a community. And Caritas always stays during and after it. Caritas’ emergency responses are not limited to the short-term basic needs. They are designed to accompany the victims of the emergency until they feel that they have recovered the spiritual and material elements that enable them to live a dignified life. Caritas accompanies the people in need until their needs have been dealt with in a sustainable way that takes their integral development into account. 

Read the full presentation here.