|The Italian navy rescues refugees at sea in June 2014. The priority must be be to save lives: that means a full search and rescue mission of refugees attempting the dangerous crossing. (UNHCR/Italian Navy/M.Sestini|
|"All 28 EU member states have a responsibility to work together to save lives and to protect human life and dignity. Europe must prove that as well as talk, it can also really act to defend human rights." ~ Jean-Marie Carrière S.J.|
(Brussels) April 21, 2015 – As the death toll in the Mediterranean reaches record numbers, Europe's first priority must be to implement a full-scale search and rescue operation of refugees attempting the dangerous crossing. Saving human life must come first. Europe should follow the example of Italy. Now is the time for extraordinary action.
Jesuit Refugee Service calls on the extraordinary European Council meeting on Thursday, April 23, to respond to this ongoing tragedy with a concrete action plan prioritizing human dignity and justice.
"Now is a moment for political courage. We urge European leaders to set aside their differences, avoiding the blame game, and to work together constructively to find solutions to this crisis," said Jean-Marie Carrière S.J., JRS Europe Director.
Jesuit Refugee Service urges European Union leaders to:
• substantially increase use of resettlement for refugees unable to find protection in the region;
• family reunification for refugees already in the EU; and
• the temporary lifting of visa requirements or at the very least the introduction of visas on humanitarian grounds.
"The priority has to be to save lives: that means a large scale search and rescue mission, and stopping those who force migrants onto unseaworthy boats. At the same time, there must also be safe and legal ways to find international protection in Europe,” said Fr. Carrière.
"All 28 EU member states have a responsibility to work together to save lives and to protect human life and dignity. Europe must prove that as well as talk, it can also really act to defend human rights."
For more details on the policy proposal by the Jesuit Refugee Service, see Safe and legal paths to protection in the EU.
For further information:
International Communications Coordinator
Jesuit Refugee Service
Tel: +39 06 69868 605; +39 346 234 3841
Jesuit Refugee Service Europe
Tel: +32 2 250 3225
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.
To accompany means to be a companion. We are companions of Jesus, so we wish to be companions of those with whom he preferred to be associated, the poor and the outcast. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs. JRS advocates for just and generous policies and programs for the benefit of victims of forced displacement, so that those made vulnerable by exile can receive support and protection and durable solution to their plight can be achieved.
JRS/USA witnesses to God’s presence in vulnerable and often forgotten people driven from their homes by conflict, natural disaster, economic injustice, or violation of their human rights.
As one of the ten geographic regions of Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS/USA serves as the major refugee outreach arm of U.S. Jesuits and their institutional ministries, mobilizing their response to refugee situations in the U.S. and abroad. Through our advocacy and fund raising efforts, JRS/USA provides support for the work of JRS throughout the world.
JRS/USA gives help, hope, ear and voice to vulnerable people on the move by being present to and bearing witness to their plight; by relieving their human suffering and restoring hope; by addressing the root causes of their displacement and improving international responses to refugee situations.
In addition, JRS/USA inspires the Ignatian family and others to respond together to the needs of refugees and displaced persons worldwide and forges strong partnerships with like-minded institutions and agencies devoted to the cause of refugees and displaced persons.
JRS works in more than 50 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of approximately 950,000 refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, more than half of whom are women. JRS services are available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.
Approximately 280,000 children, young people and adults receive primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational education services each year. JRS places the highest priority on ensuring a better future for refugees by investing heavily in education and training. Further, JRS undertakes advocacy to ensure all displaced children be provided with access to quality education. JRS services are provided to refugees regardless of race, ethnic origin or religious beliefs.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.