Refugee policy in Europe: When justice dies, people follow!

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For a Christian, human rights and solidarity-based refugee policy in Europe!

As Christians and as citizens, we call on the governments of the EU not to further jeopardize the protection of refugees. We expect our churches in Europe to defend human dignity independent without political fence-sitting.

War, oppression and injustice are central reasons for people to leave their homes. For states and societies, this need is a challenge. Yet many people in Europe see the problem in refugees and migrants themselves and call for a fortress Europe. Politics is increasingly following this logic. It is high time to change this and to clearly state the consequences of this development.

Governments in Europe must not shirk their responsibilities by closing borders and turning away people in need. The European Union needs humanity and order in its refugee policy, not relentlessness and outsourcing. It is right to identify, through common border controls, who is entering Europe and to ensure a fair distribution of refugees. But it violates international law not to rescue people in distress at sea. It is violating international law to detain people in camps for months, to pay other states to shield Europe from refugees and to declare dangerous countries as safe countries of origin. This walls-up policy in Europe has been advancing for years and has undermined international and European refugee law. At the same time we know from history that when justice dies, people follow.

This current refugee policy holds no good future. This policy not only threatens refugees, it also jeopardises our own humanity and dignity. The campaigns against those who work for refugees - in particular the civil rescue at sea - demonstrate: Morality is denounced and humanity is criminalized.

We will not let this policy silence us. We will continue to stand up for humanity and bear witness in our time. Our churches and houses must remain places of refuge for all people seeking help, protection and hope. Not only because we as Christians are a community from different countries, but also because our faith challenges us: in Jesus Christ we recognize the needy, the refugee, the fellow human being.

We urge the governments in the European Union:

Find solutions and a language guided by humanity. Fight the causes of flight, not the refugees. Protect international law instead of undermining it by a walls-up policy. Choose a policy of humanity and solidarity so that Europe retains its dignity.

We demand from church leaders in Europe:

Stand up for refugees. Express yourself more courageously, clearly and unambiguously. Do not take politics into account, but only and exclusively the people in need. In this historic situation, stand up for refugee protection and humanity: Reject all political proposals that are not based on love and humanity. Visit the people seeking protection in their shelters. Talk to the helpers who resign out of desperation. Strengthen the institutions that work for refugees.

“Give counsel; grant justice; make your shade like night at the height of noon; shelter the outcasts; do not reveal the fugitive!” (Isaiah 16:3) 



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