The refugee situation: it’s all about European core values!
“Our older brother was kidnapped by ISIS and we have no news from him. Our situation became unbearable, so we decided to leave Afghanistan on foot and we have travelled a month and a half to get to Greece. Unfortunately during the trip in Iran we lost our father and we don't know where he is. To get from Turkey to Greece we had to pay 1,000 euros per person to the smugglers for a 5 hour ride, not knowing if we would survive the trip. We hope that our father and our brother are alive and that we can all gather in a safer place. It wasn't a trip. It was a killer trip”, explained Mujdah and Mohebullah, 15 and 8 year-old sister and brother from Afghanistan.
According to the United Nations, since 2014 at least 10,000 people have lost their lives in attempting to reach a safe haven in Europe. The EU restrictive policies prevent people from entering Europe safely, hence resulting in unbearable death tolls. The further externalisation of EU asylum and migration policies through agreements with non-EU countries clearly shows the lack of solidarity with the people fleeing war and persecution.
"I couldn't find any other way to come to Europe. I wished there were a safe way, a legal one. Being smuggled to cross over to Greece was my only alternative. I knew it was a dangerous thing to do, but I was desperate. I had to cross to save my life and what is left of my soul," told a young Syrian woman to a Caritas Greece staff a few days ago. She fled Syria alone. She was sexually abused on the way and had to turn to smugglers to cross the Aegean Sea and save herself from her abuser.
According to latest reports, over 1,000 migrants have died in less than a week while trying to cross the Mediterranean. Their desperate attempt to reach the EU shows how dire and terrifying their situation is. Caritas Europa and JRS Europe are appalled by the continuous suffering of so many people and stand in solidarity with these women, men and children.
Here are some advantages of the humanitarian visa:
'Caritas calls for a comprehensive, long-term, integrated, concerted and balanced approach, whose objectives, policies and measures will be long-lasting. The ultimate aims should be to eliminate forced displacement and unsafe migration, and facilitate and speed up safe, voluntary and legal mobility, while providing opportunities for potential migrants at home and protecting the human rights and dignity of migrants.'
The Caritas family sees the Valletta Summit as an opportunity for the EU and its African counterparts to begin addressing social injustice and poverty together, and to foster resilience against emerging conflicts and crises. Therefore Caritas expects European leaders to:
Read the full statement here (pdf).
Speaking to Catholic News Service, Cardinal Tagle said “For this project, Caritas Greece has only one paid person. All the others are volunteers, taking turns to serve food, to sort out donations of clothing and coming here to spend the day or evening with the refugees — that is Caritas. Caritas is Caritas because of those simple people who give of themselves.”
Read the full story of Cardinal Tagle's visit on the Caritas Europa site here.
On this page we post the latest news from Caritas Finland.