World Refugee Day 2017 - SOLIDAR Resolution
Conflicts, global inequalities, extreme poverty, humanitarian and environmental disasters have forced over 60,000 people in the world to be displaced - as refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and internally displaced persons. The majority of the world’s refugee population is hosted in developing countries, but we are also feeling the impact in our continent with more than 1 million people seeking international protection in the EU.
In absence of safe and legal channels to seek for international protection and a decent life, more than 30,000 persons have lost their lives in the Mediterranean in the last 15 years and more than 2000 since the beginning of this year. These numbers show that the responses provided by the EU in the framework of the European Agenda on Migration are not sufficient to protect lives and tackle root causes.
On the occasion of the World Refugee Day on 20 June 2017, SOLIDAR calls on EU institutions and Members States to:
- Open safe and legal migration channels and implement an EU humanitarian visa scheme. In the absence of legal channels to come to Europe, refugees and migrants are forced to resort to irregular ways to access it, putting their lives in danger. EU Member States have at their disposal a toolbox of safe and legal routes to protection. Among the tools are resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes, humanitarian visas, as well as more effective and extended family reunification procedures and opening labour migration, education exchange and scholarship programmes to refugees.
- Speed up the implementation of the EU relocation scheme. The relocation plan, agreed by Member States last year, is far from being implemented. Only 20,869 people have been currently relocated from Italy and Greece out the 160,000 people originally planned. Each Member States should fulfil its legal obligation to show solidarity both to people in need and to other member States.
- No migration management with development cooperation funds. Eradicating poverty and fighting inequality should be kept as the main focus of EU development cooperation policy. Therefore, development funding should not be used for migration management, to counterpart readmission agreements, for border control, for security purposes and/or to subsidise the private sector. When it comes to migration, development cooperation should focus on tackling forced displacement and its root causes and not on trying to regulate voluntary migration.
- Acknowledge and promote the efforts made by NGOs to save lives at sea in the absence of a coordinated institutional response. SOLIDAR considers the recent defamation attacks to NGOs operating search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean Sea outrageous. These organisations act in the name of their humanitarian commitments, which SOLIDAR shares and promotes, by saving lives of people in danger.