Brussels, 18 November 2015. ECRE expresses its shock and sorrow over the death of so many innocent people in the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. The brutal acts in Paris were a direct assault on Europe’s way of life and its fundamental values of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and human dignity.

In the aftermath, ECRE is deeply concerned by the words used to demonise refugees. Such irresponsible language risks fuelling a new wave of xenophobia and racism against refugees and migrants, as well as Muslims who live in Europe. Confusing refugees with terrorists is morally and legally wrong, as the 1951 Refugee Convention excludes people who have committed serious crimes from its scope. Moreover, many of the refugees coming to Europe are themselves fleeing the same extremism, terrorism and violence that occurred in Paris and Beirut.

Scapegoating refugees, closing the borders and discrediting the institution of asylum will not defeat terrorism. Instead, European States need to stand strong and defend fundamental values in solidarity and uphold their legal obligations under the Refugee Convention and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which recognizes the right to asylum in Article 18. Instead of stigmatising refugees, we should embrace them as fellow human beings, and maintain our commitment to offering sanctuary to those seeking protection from persecution and conflict.

What terrorists hope to instil through these attacks is hatred and intolerance in Europe. Now more than ever, we need to remain true to our fundamental values, by welcoming refugees into our communities and offering them a life in Europe with dignity.


For further information, contact:

Thorfinnur Omarsson
Head of Communications
Tel: +32 4 74340525