An open letter to people fleeing war, persecution and poverty from over 30 European civil society organisations

8 September 2015

As Europeans, #WeApologise on behalf of our national and European leaders for their inexcusable lack of coordinated humanitarian aid to the situation you and thousands of others are in while crossing our borders to escape war, persecution and poverty.

We understand that making this journey was not an easy decision for you and may have involved putting the lives of your loved ones at risk, or worse. We will continue to urge our decision-makers to provide safe and regular channels to the EU, so that your wellbeing does not rest in the hands of people smugglers.

Civil society organisations and thousands of people across the EU are taking a stand despite many governments’ inaction by opening their homes, sharing their food and donating their clothes. We will keep pressuring our politicians to fulfil their humanitarian obligation to ensure the provision of such services rather than leaving it up to individuals or organisations to provide them without support.

The decision you made that led you here to Europe required a lot of courage. We implore our leaders to demonstrate the same courage by coming together to find a pan-European response that respects each individual’s human rights regardless of their status.

While several of our leaders seem to have forgotten the EU’s core values of solidarity and human rights, we have not. The EU has the capacity to welcome you with open arms, and the unwillingness to do so is an embarrassment to us. We acknowledge your right to seek refuge in safer regions and to be treated with dignity. We also recognise the contribution that you can make and we will fight to give you this opportunity.

In solidarity,

Social Platform
ENAR – European Network Against Racism
ENSIE – European Network of Social Integration Enterprises
EDF – European Disability Forum
TGEU – Transgender Europe
ESAN – European Social Action Network
ECAS – European Citizen Action Service
EURAG – European Federation of Older People
CEV – European Volunteer Centre Inclusion Europe
EPA – European Parents Association
AGE Platform Europe
PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants
EAPN – European Anti-Poverty Network European
Youth Forum
EASPD – European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities ICSW – International Council on Social Welfare Europe
EPR – European Platform for Rehabilitation
European House Budapest (Hungary)
Pax Christi International
Mental Health Europe
ERIO – European Roma Information Office
ENNA – European Network of National Civil Society Associations
European Students’ Forum
ECRE – European Council on Refugees and Exiles
ATD Fourth World
IUT – International Union of Tenants
EEB – European Environmental Bureau

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