We, the front-line volunteers who for months now have been helping thousands of refugees, call on all the governments of Europe to act immediately and decisively to alleviate the situation. There are tens of thousands of people moving through south-eastern Europe and the current capacities of volunteer-based help sites are seriously challenged. Given also the rapid approach of winter and problems at various borders, we feel there is a real danger that the situation will lead to serious medical problems and likely deaths among the refugee community.
Every person has the legal right to seek asylum. If Europe is not able to provide safe and legal routes for asylum-seekers, it is obliged to provide aid to those who took the dangerous route. We do not want to see a single refugee dying while waiting in endless queues at European borders, literally in our own hands.
Volunteers have been providing a wide range of activities so far, in many places completely replacing the absent government facilities and aid. We are distributing food and water, undertaking crowd management, providing critical information about registration and borders, referring vulnerable people to UNHCR or medical services, caring for children, managing stocks of clothing and blankets, cleaning waste, raising funds and providing shelter to the most vulnerable few.
We have been doing all this for months in Lesvos, Athens, Gevgelija, Budapest, Röszke, Belgrade, Eidomeni, Hegyeshalom, Nickelsdorf, Wien, Salzburg, Heiligenkreuz, Zakány, Botovo, Calais, Preševo, Berkasovo, Bregana, Harmica, Trnovec, Mursko Središće, Bapska, Opatovac and a number of other places around Europe. We have proven that volunteers can do a lot, but we will be unable to keep thousands of people warm once the winter weather closes in.
Winter is coming quickly and we all have just a few days to respond in a humane way.
This is advance notice to all of you, the leaders of Europe, that people will be freezing to death soon on our borders if you do not act now.
Do you agree with our letter and want to help? All organisations are happy to receive any kind of donation, but right now we need more. Please call, email or visit your government, your MP, your ministers or your president and ask them, “What are you going to do to prevent suffering and death among refugees?” If they don’t answer, or their response is not sufficient, call, email or visit them again. As long as is necessary.
This #europeact open letter is supported by these volunteer groups:
We are unfortunately unable to add individuals to the list. If you are an individual volunteer who would like to support this letter, please share it on social media with #europeact and do not forget to call or email the leaders of your country.
Media contact: Michal Berg +420 603 102 284, firstname.lastname@example.org