13 May 2016

“We, people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, workers, parents, students, soon-to-be or already European citizens, are joining our voices to all those ashamed of how Europe is treating refugees and migrants,” reads a statement by refugee and migrant communities in Europe published today. The statement, which calls on European citizens to react against inhumane asylum policies, was initiated by the Greek Forum of Refugees and has been signed and supported by over 80 refugee and migrant organisations and refugee-assisting NGOs all over Europe.

“We are raising our voices now to defend what we were taught to be European values: democracy, justice, tolerance, Human Rights and equality. We should not forget why people are coming to Europe. People come because they believed in our values,” say the refugee and migrant communities.”

The statement emerged from the need of the communities to speak out regarding the current situation in Europe, particularly regarding the implications of the EU-Turkey deal, detention, xenophobia and the overall situation for migrants and migrants in Europe.

“What’s wrong? Is Europe so poor that it cannot provide a shelter to just 1.7% of the refugees and displaced in the world? There are 59.5 million forced migrants in the world, the overwhelming majority of whom don’t ever get to Europe. Is Europe so scared that it cannot open legal ways for other migrants to come and go? Is it so difficult that the EU has to agree a deal with a country like Turkey, with such a low human rights record, to do what we should not do?

Can we tell our children that while Western countries are giving lessons to the world about human rights and equality, the same countries allow children to be detained on European soil, sometimes without enough food, and no school, that people are to be deported to an uncertain future without being listened to, and all sorts of human rights are being violated in the name of migration “management”, with the sole obsession of “reducing” numbers?”

Read the full statement here.

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 May 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.