Solidarity is the answer

a statement by Caritas Europa on the occasion of the International Day of Migrants

On the occasion of the International Day of Migrants, Caritas Europa reminds EU governments that solidarity should be our leaders’ answer to creating more welcoming and inclusive societies.

“I’m a Kurd. The Syrian military leadership doesn’t trust the Kurds, so we’re always on the frontline. And if I was captured by ISIS, I would be immediately executed. Either way my chances of survival were slim. I had to leave,” said Shiar, a Syrian man who sought refuge in Europe.

Refugees are threatened in their countries of origin by the very same people who perpetrated the terrorist attacks in France, Lebanon, Mali, Cameroon and Tunisia. Europe has a duty to remain a safe haven for refugees and to welcome every person in need of protection, regardless of nationality and religion. We must resist from isolating ourselves and building Fortress Europe.

“We all should be more welcoming. Today, creating welcoming societies and acting in solidarity is even more important to counter suspicions and prejudices. Our politicians must be courageous and visionary enough to challenge anti-migrant attitudes and to not fall into the trap of confounding victims and perpetrators”, reminds Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.

The security situation in Europe cannot be improved by closing our borders - by isolating ourselves from the rest of the world and violating migrants’ human rights. With these considerations in mind, Caritas Europa calls for:

  • Opening safe and legal channels of entry into the EU;
  • Introducing a humanitarian visa, which is affordable and easily accessible via any EU embassy in countries of origin and transit;
  • Lifting visa requirements when justified on humanitarian grounds;
  • Facilitating family reunification for refugees and migrants, hence fostering integration in receiving countries.
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