001976_05_031075We at Diaconia ECCB – Center of Relief and Development, in partnership with ACT Alliance, an international consortium of Protestant NGOs, are calling for a public collection to assist the hundreds of thousands of refugees stranded in Europe, many of whom are somewhere along the route to Germany in Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Serbia, and elsewhere.

As global politicians continue to stall and debate, thousands more refugees, including children and the elderly, are making the desperate and dangerous decision to leave their homes. Since the beginning of this year, over 340,000 people have fled, seeking protection from war, Islamic radicalism, and human rights abuses. The majority are fleeing from the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan. Others come from Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Darfur, Somalia, and other countries. Germany alone expects to receive over 800,000 requests for asylum in 2015, by far the most of any EU country.

A distressed vessel discovered by the US Navy (USN) Oliver Hazard Perry Class Guided Missile Frigate USS RENTZ (FFG 46) 300 miles from shore with 90 people on board, including women and children. The RENTZ provided assistance and took the Ecuadorian citizens to Guatemala, from where they would be repatriated. (SUBSTANDARD)

Some of the worst tragedies in 2015 include:

  • Two boats carrying about 500 migrants sank after leaving Zuwara in Libya on August 27th;
  • The bodies of 71 people, believed to be Syrian migrants, were discovered in an abandoned truck in Austria on August 27th;
  • A shipwreck off Italy’s Lampedusa island killed about 800 migrants on April 19th;
  • At least 300 migrants are feared to have drowned after attempting to cross the Mediterranean in rough seas in early February

Only after harrowing journeys, replete with smugglers, violence, sex trafficking, and other dangers, are refugees able to reach the external borders of Europe. Upon arrival, most are held at registration points or camps. To reach northern Europe, their final destination, refugees must first walk through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary. Local governments in these “transit” countries do not have the resources or expertise to properly care for and protect the refugees. More than 3,000 people are arriving each day in these countries. Many refugees are being met with great hostility.

_85253205_028637194-1This is an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Diaconia-CRD stands in solidarity with refugees and we will do everything in our power to provide assistance and aid to them, both in Europe and during their journey to safety.

“Let us not look at them as a “wave” that must be stopped, instead let us feel compassion for them as individuals and hear their stories. Those who are fleeing from the horrors and violence of war are people just like you and me. They are doctors, engineers, salesmen and women, and construction workers. They have families and often times, they have lost a loved one,” says Jan Dus, Executive Director of Diaconia ECCB- Center of Relief and Development.

We call for clear and simple immigration policies to be adopted by all European countries that will promote the dignity and safety of refugees. We believe that the correct immigration policies can prevent the risks posed to those fleeing their homes.

We recognize that countries in southern Europe, on the border of the Schengen area, as well as other target countries, bear a great burden, for which they need support. We cannot and do not want to leave the responsibility of finding a solution only to them. These countries deserve our support and solidarity, because the current refugee crisis affects all of us and the solutions must involve the whole of Europe.

In order to improve the current situation, we must continue to address the root causes through humanitarian and development cooperation, and the promotion of human rights and the rule of law. Let us not forget this in the creation of our foreign policy. It is imperative that we continue to provide aid and assistance to the areas of conflict in order to tackle the root causes of this international crisis. Let us reach out and provide help where it is needed most. In this current crisis, we are forced to see that the Czech Republic is not an isolated island. This issue affect us all and we must respond with compassion and intelligence.

We at Diaconia ECCB – Center of Relief and Development, in partnership with our ACT Alliance partners are organizing collection drives that will provide much-needed funds. Money raised will go towards the purchasing of hygienic products, infant-and-baby kits, food provisions, winterization materials, and in the construction and repair of refugee registration centers and camps. Most of the aid will be distributed to refugees who are stranded, in limbo, along the external border of Europe.

The need is urgent.

For more information and donation information contact Jeremy Ault at Jeremy.ault@diakonie.cz, or visit our website www.diaconiacrd.org/donate/

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