Eurodiaconia member, La Federation de l’Entraide Protestante (Federation of Protestant Solidarity Organisations), signed a joint statement (in French) urging the French Government to change its policies on asylum procedures and migrants seeking to reach Great Britain. This is in response to the tragic loss of 27 lives in the English Channel on November 27th. It was not only the sea that claimed those lives but the “guilty blindness of the French and British authorities”.
The joint statement emphasises that for years, organisations have been warning of the risks taken by people caught between the lack of secure passage to Britain and asylum procedures in France. Whilst both governments point the finger at smugglers, the letter is unequivocal in its assertion that it is brutal and ineffective policies that have led to the suffering and exploitation of migrants. The call is just as clear – to stop acts of abuse, provide shelter for people, allow people to apply for asylum or stay in France and negotiate with the British Government to secure legal and safe passage for those who wish to seek asylum in Britain.
Two days after the tragedy in the Channel, several Eurodiaconia members and partners, alongside many other European civil society organisations, addressed a separate appeal to the European Union about the untenable situation at its borders, especially with Belarus. This is another situation in which vulnerable people find themselves being used as proxies in a political conflict.
The appeal calls for a response that aligns with European and international legal obligations and that treats people with dignity. The following recommendations are put forward:
- Ensure access to asylum at the borders – people have the right to claim asylum regardless of how they arrived at the border
- Guarantee humanitarian access – it is essential that humanitarian organisations can meet people safely and securely
- Withdraw non-compliant domestic legislation – national legislation that is incompatible with established EU & international asylum legislation and norms should be withdrawn
- Counteract the repression of civil society, journalists & legal practitioners – member states must not be permitted to intimidate or coerce independent actors seeking to respond to people’s needs
- Place human rights and transparency at the heart of third-country cooperation – the EU should stop pursuing agreements that concentrate on preventing or returning people
Eurodiaconia and its members are committed to building a Europe where the right to seek asylum is respected and where people are welcomed and supported.
* Photo Credit: “French police officers dismantle a migrant camp located between Loon-Plage and Grande-Synthe on 30th November 2021 (Michael Bunel – Le Pictorium/Maxppp)”