Athens, 26 of April 2017
After so many tragedies at the Aegean Sea, the Greek Forum of Refugees regrets deeply, once more, that 16 people lost their lives on the night of the 23rd of April 2017 near the island of Lesvos. As numbers are the only thing that matters for Europe, how many people must die in order for Europe to react responsibly?
We insist on the fact that individuals will still be forced to flee for their lives and search for freedom and safety in countries such as the European member states. Refugees will be compelled to continue fleeing through dangerous routes putting their lives in great dangers if safe routes are not provided by the European Union.
Despite the continuous denunciations, no alternatives have been found by the International Community to end the root causes that turn human beings into refugees. People would not endanger themselves by crossing the sea on inappropriate boats, if they had options to live peacefully in their country of origin. If nothing changes, the European Union will continue being accountable for the innumerable losses at its sea borders.
The European Union cannot rely on the neighboring countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, Libya and Iran to host refugees. First, these countries cannot be considered as safe for refugees since these nations oblige, also, some of their own citizens to flee. Second, despite the fact that these countries are hosting many refugees, we witness serious humanitarian crisis, people living in great poverty, their safety is not ensured and their human rights are violated continuously.
The constant prevention of refugees to access safely the European Union, the implemented agreements between the European Union and third countries of origin and the unfair return policies have to stop immediately. Such deals do not tackle effectively the root causes of individual escape, but rather put people in great danger since, even in the case they are returned, they will have no other choice than to take the dangerous route again in order to survive.
There are solutions. There is no strong political will to implement them. We urgently press the European authorities to implement legal and safe pathways for refugees allowing them access to the Asylum.