European decision-makers‘ unwillingness to hear and see the suffering of migrants and refugees on our borders is killing the dream of a European Union that champions human rights and solidarity.
Earlier this year, on a cumbersome journey from Somalia, only 3 survivors out of 65 migrants in the group made it to Europe. The 3 were all pregnant women and are now in Sweden. Caritas Sweden asked them: Was it worth the journey? All of them responded “If we had stayed we would have died anyway.”
Europe has increasingly been confronted with this reality, and has stubbornly been using the ostrich tactique of hoping that the problem will get solved by just not seeing it. For this, Europe is hiding behind ever higher fences; ever stronger military presence on borders; and ever harsher political rhetoric. This must stop now! Migrants and refugees are not criminals! They are people in need of help that are so desperate that they are ready to risk their lives during terrible journeys. Why? Because if they had stayed they “would have died anyway.”
This past Thursday, 18 June, Pope Francis released the Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si” on the risks for life on Earth that climate change entails. A vast majority of migrants and refugees are forced to leave because they are hit by events triggered directly or indirectly by climate change. European leaders are very much aware of that and yet prefer to entrench themselves in sterile xenophobic debates that are just contributing to the slow but steady erosion of the European dream.
“The solidarity we desperately need is solidarity not only between EU member states and north and south countries but also between people” says Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa. “We wish to hear European leaders say yes, we can to refugees. Yes to saving lives; yes to relocation, resettlement and solidarity. Because Europe could if it only wanted.”
We repeat our message: Migration is not a crime and we call on the EU leaders to take a strong stand on solidarity, protection and human dignity of refugees and migrants.
- Caritas Europa on EU Migration Agenda
- Caritas Europa letter to the Extraordinary Council
- Recommendations for safe and legal paths to protection in the EU
For more information, please contact
Advocacy and Policy Officer
Migration and Asylum
Tel: +32 (0)2 235 26 55
Tel: +32 (0)2 235 26 54
Mob: +32 (0)478 58 54 37