Europe Must Act Now for the Immediate Decongestion of the Aegean Islands

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2nd March 2020
Greece

To Charles Michel, president of the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Heads of Member States,

EUROPE MUST ACT FOR THE IMMEDIATE DECONGESTION OF THE AEGEAN ISLANDS

The Aegean Islands have descended into crisis. 5 years of neglectful EU policy has finally culminated in days of protest (1, 2), NGOs threatened with violence, and mass strikes across the islands. Whilst over 42,000 asylum seekers reside on these islands, there is capacity for just 6,178 (1). Now, communities are braced for a surge in arrivals as Turkey has opened its borders, reneging on the EU-Turkey agreement.

This ongoing political stalemate between the EU, Greece and Turkey must be resolved. This game, played by the powerful, is putting innocent human lives at risk. It must stop now. Added to this already volatile mix is rising panic over the coronavirus. With healthcare severely lacking in the hotspot camps, NGOs fear that an outbreak would have disastrous consequences. 

Greece has been left alone to deal with this crisis - and the island communities more than anyone. Today, Europe must act to correct 5 years of negligent policy-making. It must own up to its chronic shunning of this international burden and recognise that good policy can fix this man-made catastrophe. As the humanitarian situation worsens beyond anyone’s reckoning, it is your responsibility, as EU leaders, to ensure decisive and coordinated action to protect human life. 

We, the undersigned, call for:

  1. Immediate action from all Member States to decongest the Aegean Islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros through fair relocation of asylum seekers across European countries for the sake of universal human rights and in accordance with obligations set out under Art 78(3) of the TFEU and the 2001 Directive on Temporary Protection.
  2. The immediate provision by EU states of support to, and oversight of, the Greek government’s Reception and Identification Centres, to ensure access to a safe and legal asylum process in accordance with humanitarian law, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights. 
  3. The creation of a shared European register of legal, medical and protection staff to support the Greek government through rotational placements in the Aegean in processing asylum applications in a humane, dignified and legal way.

We await the response of the Presidents of the European Council and Commission as well as Heads of Member States to this Open Letter. We remain united in the belief that asylum seekers and refugees have the right to legal processes, that political irresponsibility can be made good through effective and humane policy and governance. Europe must act!

Please join us in demanding that Europe Must Act and sign the Open Letter.

  1. Action for Education
  2. Adopt A Revolution
  3. Advocates Abroad
  4. Aid Hoc
  5. Aide et Espoir aux Réfugiés-Help & Hope
  6. All 4 Humanity Hellas
  7. Amala Thessaloniki
  8. Amel, be human help others
  9. Another Europe Is Possible
  10. Are You Syrious?
  11. ArmandoAid
  12. AsyLex
  13. Balloona Matata
  14. Basel hilft mit
  15. Be Aware and Share
  16. Becky’s Bathhouse
  17. Better Days
  18. BIASAN (Bradford)
  19. Boxwise
  20. Bras not Bombs
  21. Bridge2
  22. Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees
  23. Calais Action
  24. Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group
  25. Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign
  26. Care4Humanity
  27. Cars of Hope, Wuppertal
  28. Catch a Smile Luxembourg
  29. Choosehumanity Switzerland
  30. Chorleywood4Refugees
  31. City of Sanctuary UK
  32. CivicLeicester
  33. Collective Aid
  34. Copenhagen Underground
  35. DAHUMAS - Dachverband freiwillige humanitäre Hilfe Schweiz
  36. Detention Forum
  37. Distribute Aid
  38. Do Your Part
  39. Donate4Refugees
  40. Droit de Rester
  41. Elmbridge CAN
  42. Engage
  43. Everyday, just a smile
  44. FAST - First Aid Support Team
  45. FORGE for Humanity
  46. Frankenkonvoi e.V.
  47. Glocal Roots
  48. GRACEaid
  49. Grenzenlose Wärme Refugee Relief Work e.V.
  50. Hamburger Hilfskonvoi
  51. Heimatstern
  52. Hello My Friend
  53. Help Refugees / Choose Love
  54. Help4Refugee Children
  55. Herts for Refugees
  56. Hope and Aid Direct
  57. HuBB- Humans Before Borders
  58. Human-aid-collective e. V.
  59. Human Aid Now
  60. Humansnation
  61. Independent volunteers from Bosnia and Herzegovina
  62. Indigo Volunteers
  63. Intereuropean Human Aid Association
  64. Jesuit Refugee Service - Greece
  65. Jugend rettet
  66. Khora Community Centre, Athens
  67. Kids & Welcome
  68. Koraki
  69. Kune Aid
  70. Latitude Adjustment Podcast
  71. LE Solidarity
  72. Lighthouse Relief
  73. Lochaber Supports Refugees
  74. Love Without Borders-For Refugees in Need
  75. MARDI Medical Aid for Refugees and Displaced People
  76. Mare-Liberum e.V.
  77. Marlow Refugee Action
  78. Mazí Housing Project
  79. Medical Volunteers International e.V
  80. Mid-Wales Refugee Action
  81. MiGreat
  82. mini decki
  83. Mobile Flüchtlingshilfe e.V.
  84. Mobile Info Team
  85. Mαζί/Together/معاً Cyprus
  86. No Name Kitchen
  87. Northern Lights Aid
  88. Norwegian Refugee Council
  89. Offene Arme e.V.
  90. One Bridge to Idomeni
  91. One Family - No Borders
  92. One Happy Family
  93. Open Cultural Center
  94. People in Motion
  95. People Not Borders
  96. People4People e. V.
  97. PomegranateAid
  98. Precious Plastic Samos
  99. Project Armonia
  100. ProtestLEJ
  101. ReFOCUS Media Labs
  102. RefuComm
  103. Refugee 4 Refugees
  104. Refugee Aid Network
  105. Refugee Biriyani & Bananas
  106. Refugee Compassion
  107. Refugee Info Bus
  108. Refugee Relief
  109. Refugee Rescue
  110. Refugee Rights Europe
  111. Refugee Support EU
  112. Refugee Welcome Karoviertel
  113. Refugee Women’s Centre
  114. Refugees Foundation e.V
  115. Refugees Welcome in Olten
  116. ResCO international e.V.
  117. Rowing Together
  118. Rural Refugee Network
  119. Safe Passage
  120. Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario
  121. SAO Association
  122. School Bus Project
  123. Scottish Refugee Council
  124. Sea-Watch e.V.
  125. Seebrücke
  126. Seebrücke Hannover
  127. ShowerPower Foundation
  128. Shropshire Music Foundation
  129. Smile on the Way
  130. Solidarität auf See
  131. Solidarité sans frontières Suisse
  132. Speak Street
  133. Stand for All
  134. Stay Human Onlus
  135. Stichting Bootvluchteling - Boat Refugee Foundation
  136. Support Convoy e.V.
  137. Syria Solidarity Campaign
  138. The Flying Seagulls
  139. The Highlands Support Refugees
  140. The Lava Project
  141. The Voice of Thousands
  142. Three Peas
  143. Together100
  144. Umino - Unterstützung für Menschen in Not
  145. Verein Esperanza
  146. Verein FAIR
  147. Verein Soliba
  148. Visas for Asylum
  149. Vivre ensemble - Asile.ch 
  150. Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen
  151. We Are Here
  152. Wiltshire For Refugees
  153. Wir packen’s an
  154. World At Play NGO
  155. Yoga and Sport For Refugees
  156. 350.org


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