FOR THE REFUGEE RIGHTS

On the 27th February 2016, citizens from all over Europe will gather to stand for the appeal of a Refugees Rights to Safe Passage, requesting all European Governments to act now, in regards to the tragic events witnessed in European boarders daily.

Since 2015, 1 million refugees have arrived in Europe. Last January alone counted 35 thousand people crossing the sea from Turkey to Greece. During the last two months, at least 200 people have died in this trip of attempted survival.

These people are escaping from war and death.

The refugees have the right to be protected and the right to live with dignity. We cannot reduce people to prejudice. Mankind is a result of an age-old history of migrations. The world is naturally a multicultural world.

We do not want to be part of a European continent that is collapsing. It is urgent that the ‘subject’ of refugees be treated in a dignified manner throughout a global action and coordination, through solidarity among all European countries. There’s a need for reconciliation politics, based on humanity rather than territorial interests and fears of invasion.

At the moment there are no guarantees of any kind of help – be it financial, for food or medical provisions: it is practically impossible to re-unite families or find lost children. For instance, Portugal has offered to accommodate 4500 people and up to this day has only received around 30 people. What needs to be done to make sure the remaining people arrive safely?

We urge for:

- A Safe Passage from war zones through peaceful territories up until the refugees’ final destiny. With no ID wristbands, no confiscation of goods, no closed borders, without abuse, without human traffic or smugglers who enrich themselves at the expense of false life jackets and rubber boats that are loaded with twice as many people they can support;

- Building serious dialogue bridges through coordination between the various International Organizations present in the conflicted areas, as well as coordination between the governments of the Member States and respective National Organizations that supervise the reception of refugees;

- The replacement of “patrolling” with “saving”, and “security-control of borders” with “Humanitarian Visa issuing” – an official clause under the "EU Visa Code", but rarely implemented. This would allow the refugees’ safe travel to the country where they intend to seek asylum at;

- More flexibility on existing programs, to enable a quicker accomplishment of “Replacement”, “Resettlement”, “Family Reunification”, as well as “Scholarships” or “Work Sponsorships”.   Melissa Fleming, the spokesperson for the High Commission of the United Nations for Refugees (UNHCR) granted us authorization to quote her. We consider her questions, her requests and words as ours:

«Why is there no massive resettlement program for Syrian refugees, the victims of the worst war of our times? Why is there so little investment in the neighbouring countries hosting so many refugees? And why, the root question, is so little being done to stop the wars, the persecution and the poverty that is driving so many people to the shores of Europe? And what happens next?

I understand the public fears. People are worried about their security, their economies, the changes of culture. But is that more important than saving human lives?

On behalf of all of those people who drowned, can we make sure that they did not die in vain? »

Extracted from «A boat carrying 500 refugees sunk at sea. The story of two survivors» (TED Talk, May 2015)

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