The European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) together with 100 partners in 34 countries has launched Europe Act Now (www.helpsyriasrefugees.eu) calling on European leaders to protect refugees fleeing the Syrian war.
To date, just 81,000 Syrians have sought protection in the EU, Norway and Switzerland; representing only 3% of the total number of people who have fled. With a death toll of 130,000 and refugee numbers expected to escalate to 4 million by the end of 2014, this war marks the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time.
At http://www.helpsyriasrefugees.eu/# people can ‘give their voice’ to Syria’s refugees and urge Europe’s leaders to take action to:
We, the people of Europe, call on European leaders to take immediate steps to help Syria’s refugees, by agreeing to the following 3 actions:
1. Give refugees a safe way into Europe
Refugees have very few possibilities to travel to Europe safely and legally. Those who want to get to Europe put their lives in the hands of smugglers or face life-threatening journeys.
European leaders must provide greater access to Europe for Syria’s refugees by relaxing visa restrictions, significantly increasing resettlement places above and beyond current national quotas and offering other forms of admission through embassies in the region.
2. Protect refugees arriving at Europe’s borders
Lives are in danger at Europe’s doorstep. Many refugees risk death attempting the treacherous journeys by land or by sea, only to be sent straight back as soon as they reach Europe’s borders.
European leaders must put an end to all push-backs at the borders and ensure that people in distress are rescued. The people who survive the journey to Europe must be humanely treated and their need for protection must be fairly assessed.
3. Reunite families torn apart by crisis
Many families are divided by the war in Syria. Flight leaves families split, often leading to prolonged separation. Others, with family members in Europe, find themselves trapped in the midst of the crisis, prevented from reuniting with loved ones by complex visa and administrative procedures.
European leaders must work to reunite divided families, helping them to easily join loved ones in Europe. Family members should not be subjected to lengthy and difficult administrative processes.