Ecumenical News International

Churches call for a European solution to the refugee crisis

September 10, 2015

Brussels (epd). The refugee crisis calls for a pan-European solution, in the view of the churches. "We advocate for a Common European Asylum System," states a letter issued jointly by the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches and the Churches Commission for Migrants in Europe. The letter was made public in Brussels and Geneva on 10 September. Such a system would include decent reception conditions and a Common European Resettlement Scheme. The European Catholic Bishops' Conference also expressed support for the initiative of the European Commission to distribute refugees fairly to different countries and apply common asylum standards in Europe.

Humanity not deterrence

The church organizations also urged that European governments should particularly work to protect refugee minors, "the most vulnerable group, who are often deprived of basic stability, a full family life and education. Instead of deterrence, migration policy should focus on "putting the human at the heart of refugee policies". Furthermore, the letter also encouraged the member churches to cooperate ecumenically in providing humanitarian aid to refugees.
"We cannot accept that people drown or suffocate at the borders of Europe. Building barbwire fences and walls to prevent refugees from entering Europe is not a solution. Moreover, it is a Christian duty to help the refugees, whatever their origin and religion," asserted the Standing Committee of the Commission of Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) in a statement. "If we can solve a financial crisis in an overnight EU extraordinary summit, then it should be just as easy with this issue that directly affects the values and the future of Europe."



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