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. 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?
We, the people behind the numbers, are witnessing and experiencing everyday, almost everywhere in Europe, how these policies and aggressive discourses are affecting the lives of all of us. In Greece, we see families torn apart, often with one family member already in northern Europe and the others en route, now in danger of being deported back to Turkey. Little girls crying for their father whom they have not seen for months – and whom they will not meet again any time soon, if the plans of the EU to keep everyone out go ahead. We have seen suicide attempts in Idomeni, as parents find the suffering of their children unbearable. In Bulgaria, we have seen people who have been beaten up by the police, and a man who was shot last year. In Hungary, a 14 year old boy imprisoned with adults , for-who-knows-how-long, is terrified by the other detainees speaking about committing suicide. He has 10 minutes of internet access per day to speak to the outside world. In Germany, we see people fleeing a reception center attacked and set on fire. 300 centers have been attacked this year alone. In Sweden, we see parents desperate. The government has stopped allowing most separated refugee families to come together. They do not know when they will see their loved ones again, and what will happen to them in the meantime.
Many of us, everywhere in Europe, are witnessing the rise of xenophobia and racism. We are afraid that one day we may not be safe in Europe anymore. 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. As citizens of Europe we should not only show solidarity but also consider our responsibilities for some of the turmoil in these countries and ask our leaders to promote peace. We would like to invite all citizens to react with us to stop inhumane policies towards refugees and migrants that will destroy the values so many Europeans and non-Europeans fought and are still fighting for!
We urge European citizens regardless of their nationality to join us to protect the unity and understanding we have been building every day and for many years now. This is the strongest weapon against all forms of terror, be it political, religious or economic.
Please continue to donate your time, heart and intelligence to protect humanity !
Refugee and Migrant Organisations
Associação de Refugiados em Portugal, Afghan Academy International (UK), Afghan Migrants & Refugees Community in Greece, Association of Nigerian Women in Greece, Association of Maghreb Arabi in Crete, Association of Arabic Community of Ampelokipi (Greece), Association of Cameroonians of Greece, Association of Moroccan Community in Greece, Association of Russian Speakers and Russian Friends of Trikala Region (Greece), Community of Ukrainians in Greece, Community of Bangladeshi people in Greece, Community of Cameroon in Greece, Community of Ghana in Greece, Congolese Community in Athens, European Campaign for Human Rights for the people of Afghanistan (UK), Ethiopian Community in Greece, Federation of Albanian Associations in Greece, Greek Forum of Refugees (Greece), Greek Forum of Migrants (Greece), Greek-Georgian Union – Dioskouria, Greek-Indian Cultural Association, Greek – Pakistani Association in Greece, Greek – Soudan Friendship Association, Greek-Moldavian Association “Orphev”, Hazra Council (Belgium), Kenyan Community of Greece, Migrant Voice (UK), Nigerian Community in Greece, Organization of United Women of Africa (Greece), Sudanese Refugees Association-Greece, Syrian Expatriates Association of Greece, Syrian Home in Greece, Tabeldiya relief And Development Organisation (UK), Tanzanian Community of Greece, Union of Egyptian Workers in Greece, Union of Palestinian Workers in Greece, Union of Sierra Leone in Greece, United African Women Organisation, Women’s Ivory Tower Association (WITA-UK), Zanzibar Community in Greece
Aditus Foundation (Malta), ADRA-Humanitarian Organization (Slovenia), Akkeri Refugee Support (Iceland), Archive of Migrant Memories (Italy), Association of legal studies on Immigration (ASGI) (Italy), Asylum Aid (UK), Asylum Welcome (UK), Belgrade Centre for Human Rights (Serbia), British Refugee Council (UK), Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria), Canal Refugiados (Spain), Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), Croatian Law Centre (Croatia), Dutch Council for Refugees (the Netherlands), European Council on Refugees and Exiles – ECRE, Flemish Refugee Action (Belgium), Future Worlds Center (Cyprus), Greek Council for Refugees, Initiative Welcome! (Croatia), Institute Circle (Slovenia), Integra Foundation (Malta), International Association For Refugees (IAFR) (International), Jesuit Refugee Service Europe, Legal-informational centre for nongovernmental organisations – PIC (Slovenia), Malta Emigrants’ Commission (Malta), METAdrasi – Action for Migration and Development (Greece), OVCA – Slovenia, Positive Awareness (UK), Pro Asyl (Germany), Red Acoge (Spain), Romanian National Council for Refugees (Romania), Scottish Refugee Council (UK), Sea-Watch (Germany), Slovene Philanthropy Society for Human Rights and Supportive Action Humanitas (Slovenia), Solentra (Belgium), SOS Racismo Madrid (Spain), Student Action for Refugees (STAR) (UK), The Institute for African Studies (Slovenia), The Peace Institute (Slovenia), The People for Change Foundation (Malta), Verein Projekt Integrationshaus (Austria)
Bertossi Christophe, research fellow, centre for migration and citizenship, French institute of international relations (France), Best Keith, CEO of Survivors UK, former: CEO Immigration Advisory Service, CEO Freedom from Torture, Vice-Chair of ECRE, British MP., Frade Carlos (University of Salford, Manchester, UK), Tardis Matthieu, research fellow, centre for migration and citizenship, French institute of international relations (France)