Brussels, 14 October 2015 – The European Council’s meeting on 15-16 October will focus mainly on preparing the Valletta Summit to be held on 11-12 November. JRS Europe welcomes this initiative as it is necessary to enhance dialogue with African countries and discuss issues surrounding forced migration and displacement. However, EU political leaders should not turn a blind-eye to the material and protection needs of refugees and asylum seekers.
With the winter season approaching, conditions for new arrivals will deteriorate if all Member States do not guarantee appropriate reception conditions and do not treat asylum seekers with dignity and respect.
"All EU Member States must respect their international obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and under international and European Union law. Saving lives and protecting the human rights of asylum seekers must be prioritised," says JRS Europe advocacy officer Olga Siebert. "Increased border controls will not help asylum seekers to access the international protection they need."
JRS Europe calls upon the EU to create more safe and legal ways to enter Europe, such as the issuing of ‘humanitarian visas’ and of more resettlement places. Traumatised people take dangerous routes to reach Europe, often turning to smugglers and traffickers as their only survival option. In addition, JRS Europe calls for a truly Common European Asylum System, which will protect the lives and dignity of all refugees and asylum seekers.
JRS Europe in the Christian group of 7 NGOs recently sent a letter to MEPs showing how a humanitarian visa system would save lives. Read it here (includes testimonies at end).