Europe’s Refugee Crisis
Focus on the need, not the numbers
Refugees on the Macedonian border
The media of late has been full of stories of desperate people arriving in Europe, with the press focus largely concentrating on the growing numbers, rather than the conflict, injustice and oppression from which many are escaping.
In truth, the reaction of many in the UK and elsewhere in Europe has been far from sympathetic and the language frequently used to descibe those seeking entry to European countries has too often been deplorable, both derogatory and de-humanizing.
Each year millions of people globally are forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict and disaster. Most remain displaced within their own countries, but millions of others must cross borders to reach safety, the majority even then remaining in the developing world, hosted by some of the poorest countries in the world.
It is not a new phenomenon - Christian Aid was founded 70 years ago to assist refugees and the displaced in Europe following the Second World War. Today we support those affected by war and violence in numerous countries, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia, providing practical assistance through local organisations embedded in their communities.
In Europe, we work with partners in the ACT Alliance to support practical and political action to help those fleeing, and address the longer term issues. The ACT Alliance is a coalition of 145 churches, working together across 140 countries to create positive and sustainable change to the lives of the poor and marginalised, regardless of faith, sex, race or politics. As part of the Alliance, Christian Aid are calling on people:
- To be hospitable to “the stranger”, and to open worship sanctuaries and spaces to engage and dialogue on migrant issues.
- To continue to seek and listen to the voices of migrants, asylum seekers, stateless people and refugees in attempts to make appropriate responses.
- To continue to seek to understand the plight of those in distress; and to pray for them and with them. To continue to provide support to migrants and refugees and stateless people at community level through access to shelter, information, and services.
- For churches and faith based organisations & civil society organisations in countries of origin, transit, and destination to dialogue and where possible share experiences to enlighten each other’s responses.
- To influence nation states to accede to international human rights instruments that protect the human rights of migrants, refugees and their families, and for states who are already signatories to effectively live up to their related obligations for assistance and protection.
We have prepared a prayer for the crisis. It can be accessed here.
You can also donate through Christian Aid to support the work of our partnersdelivering refugee relief in today, via our website christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/areas-of-concern/refugee-crisis.aspx