#WeApologise for our leaders' inaction: open letter to people fleeing war, persecution and poverty

8 September 2015
Refugees

As Europeans, #WeApologise on behalf of our national and European leaders for their inexcusable lack of coordinated humanitarian aid to the situation you and thousands of others are in while crossing our borders to escape war, persecution and poverty.

We understand that making this journey was not an easy decision for you and may have involved putting the lives of your loved ones at risk, or worse. We will continue to urge our decision-makers to provide safe and regular channels to the EU, so that your wellbeing does not rest in the hands of people smugglers.

Civil society organisations and thousands of people across the EU are taking a stand despite many governments’ inaction by opening their homes, sharing their food and donating their clothes. We will keep pressuring our politicians to fulfil their humanitarian obligation to ensure the provision of such services rather than leaving it up to individuals or organisations to provide them without support.

The decision you made that led you here to Europe required a lot of courage. We implore our leaders to demonstrate the same courage by coming together to find a pan-European response that respects each individual’s human rights regardless of their status

While several of our leaders seem to have forgotten the EU’s core values of solidarity and human rights, we have not. The EU has the capacity to welcome you with open arms, and the unwillingness to do so is an embarrassment to us. We acknowledge your right to seek refuge in safer regions and to be treated with dignity. We also recognise the contribution that you can make and we will fight to give you this opportunity.

In solidarity,

Social Platform ENAR – European Network Against Racism ENSIE – European Network of Social Integration Enterprises EDF – European Disability Forum TGEU – Transgender Europe ESAN – European Social Action Network SMES-Europa CECOP-CICOPA Europe ECAS – European Citizen Action Service EURAG – European Federation of Older People CEV – European Volunteer Centre Inclusion Europe EPA – European Parents Association AGE Platform Europe PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants Autism-Europe EAPN – European Anti-Poverty Network European Youth Forum EASPD – European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities ICSW – International Council on Social Welfare Europe Eurochild EPR – European Platform for Rehabilitation SOLIDAR European House Budapest (Hungary) Pax Christi International Mental Health Europe ERIO – European Roma Information Office ENNA – European Network of National Civil Society Associations AEGEE-Europe European Students’ Forum ECRE – European Council on Refugees and Exiles ATD Fourth World ILGA-Europe IUT – International Union of Tenants EEB – European Environmental Bureau

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