20 November 2015

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) have released a briefing paper calling Europe’s response to the refugee crisis within its borders ‘shamefully inadequate’. With winter approaching, IRC says that as a matter of urgency the EU and its Member States must act in five key areas to ensure that a safe reception is provided for refugees. Without these measures, IRC says many more people will die.

These measures focus on areas such as safe, organised reception, with the IRC reporting that the EU policy of ‘hotspots’ has so far caused chaos, increased tension and been introduced with little coordination with NGOs and insufficient staff numbers or equipment. The inadequacy of the hotspots is said to have led to many refugees having to queue for days outdoors without shelter and unable to leave the line to access medical evaluation.

The call for action also notes the need for specialist protection for the most vulnerable groups arriving in Europe and for greater clarity over who is coordinating the humanitarian response. It laments the lack of funding that is needed to adequately aid the humanitarian response that is required in Europe. IRC call for such funds to focus on such a response, rather than using resources to try to keep refugees out of Europe- “Europe’s response should be saving lives, not putting up fences”.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 20 November 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.