20 June 2014

Today, on World Refugee Day, ECRE has handed over the ‘Europe Act Now, #HelpSyriasRefugees’ petition to Anne Kemppainen, representative of the Office of the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. Over 100 NGOs, Members of the European Parliament and 20,000 citizens, have called on Europe to give refugees a safe way into Europe, reunite families torn apart by the crisis and protect refugees arriving at Europe’s borders.

“While our campaign petition is handed over today, we will continue to work for safe and legal means for refugees to access Europe, for an end to pushbacks at our borders, and for families that have been torn apart fleeing crisis to be reunified,” stressed ECRE’s Secretary General when handing over the petition.

“I am honoured to receive this petition which has succeeded in mobilising European public opinion. This event is a very timely initiative to give some concrete policy recommendations to European decision makers ahead of next week’s European Council meeting. The EU remains the leading humanitarian actor in Syria and the neighbouring countries and the track record is improving also regarding resettlement”, said Anne Kemppainen.

Last week, ECRE commended Germany’s pledge to resettle 10,000 more refugees, bringing the number of refugees from Syria to be resettled in the country to 20,000. ECRE also strongly supports the call from the German Parliament for a European conference to encourage EU Members States to come together and make greater commitments to accept more refugees.

The #HelpSyriasRefugees campaign allowed supporters to give their voice to a refugee from Syria on social media, such as to Farah who is in Lebanon and fears for her children’s future as they are not able to attend school and must beg on the street to get money for rent and food; or to Zaina and Osama who are beaten and robbed by smugglers when trying to leave Greece; or Azmi who had to risk his life crossing the Mediterranean.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 20 June 2014.
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