Press Release
30 September 2015

Refugees Should Be Aided, Registered and Informed

Delegation from the Evangelical Church Demands New Asylum Advisory Centres Be Constructed Immediately and a New Overall Asylum Policy Be Developed in the Long-Term.

“The current refugee crisis presents Europe with a challenge of epic proportions. Effective immediately, we demand that asylum advisory centres be built along the travel routes, instead of at the hotspots. Eventually, all member states must agree upon an overall approach to asylum in the E.U.”

These were the demands from Prelate Martin Dutzmann, Dr. Markus Dröge, bishop of the Evangelical Church in Berlin, Brandenburg & Silesian Upper Lusatia, and Diakonie President Ulrich Lilie in a report on
their visit through Southern Europe.

The representatives from the Church and Diakonie observed first-hand the situation of refugees on the Greek-Macedonian border in Idomeni, at the transit camp Presevo in Serbia, and in Rome. “We found it particularly distressing to hear accounts of the terrible conditions of the refugees fleeing to Europe. They are abused by the smugglers and never given any basic information about their final destination.”

The current debate is about deciding what requires immediate action – even when an overall approach to the problem has yet to be agreed upon – and what requires long-term change through the political processes of the European Union. Dutzmann, Dröge and Lilie were adamant that swift steps must be taken in order to improve the dire situation of the refugees, asserting, “Refugees should receive realistic information about their country of destination. They should be registered as refugees, although not in order to initiate the asylum-seeking process, but in order to control the acceptance of refugees in Europe and to enable them to choose where they will end up.” Advisory centres should issue limited residency permits that will allow refugees to travel legally to the European country where they wish to apply for asylum. This will be the only way to put a stop to smuggling. Instead of hotspot centres, these advisory centres should be constructed preferably in locations along the travel routes where aid is being offered by volunteer workers. Hotspot centres would at best keep the smugglers in business because the people will not stop looking for shelter in Europe.

In the long-term, European asylum policy must be structured to develop a system wherein each E.U. member state accepts responsibility according their ability. The goal will be for every state to implement the E.U. standards for the right to asylum, to which every member state is obliged to comply. In order to meet this challenge, the member states must set new priorities. States currently incapable of enforcing the standards require support. “This will mean that as long as some countries are unable to accept and integrate a sufficient number of refugees, then the stronger countries in Europe – for example, Germany and Sweden – should act in advance. We will need to take a deep breath, but we will manage it.”

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact:
Diakonie Deutschland – Evangelischer Bundesverband e.V.
Ute Burbach-Tasso, Press Officer

Tel: +49 30 65211-1780, Fax: +49 30 65211-3780