Ecumenical News International

Base EU response to the refugee crisis on human rights, ACT pleads

September 8, 2015

European advocacy network ACT Alliance EU has called on the EU member states to collectively respond to the refugee crisis impacting Europe with a fair and mandatory sharing of responsibility for receiving refugees and respecting their human rights.

In a statement the network urged EU member states to adhere to the international legal instruments that they have ratified for the protection of refugees, and make concerted efforts to assist those seeking refuge in Europe.

"These people are fleeing from conflict and are reaching out to Europe for help," said Floris Faber, Director of ACT Alliance EU. "Certainly, the EU cannot deny them their rights, though perhaps most importantly we must support them with legal and practical responses that respect their rights and maintain their dignity."

The majority of those taking the route to Europe are refugees coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia and their numbers continue to rise.

While most people arriving are fleeing war, conflict or persecution in their home countries, the alliance highlighted that many are also fleeing deteriorating conditions in some refugee-hosting countries and countries of transit, which do not offer safety or the possibility to establish a new existence.

"As faith-based organisations we are deeply committed to the inviolable dignity of all individuals, as well as to the concepts of the common good, global solidarity and the promotion of a society that welcomes strangers," said Faber. "It is our moral and faith imperative as human beings to reach out of our comfort zones and to offer a helping hand to the needy and the most vulnerable, such as the many who have taken arduous journeys to come here, looking for a better life for themselves and their families."

The Social Service Agency of the Evangelical Church in Germany is a member of ACT, the global alliance of churches and aid agencies in the area of humanitarian aid. Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe and the other alliance members are providing life-saving humanitarian aid in the countries of origin, including Syria and Iraq; in neighbouring countries including Turkey and Lebanon, and increasingly in transit countries including Greece, Serbia and Hungary.



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