Oxfam displays life jackets across Europe to call for radical change in EU migration response

Hundreds of life jackets have transformed central places in four European cities this week as a symbol for the migrants who have risked their lives reaching Europe. The life jackets were collected from the beaches of the Greek island Chios and were used by adults and children making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. The events were organised by international agency Oxfam.

The life jackets were displayed ahead of the EU summit in Brussels starting today where EU leaders will take stock of their migration response. Actions have taken place today in Brussels, and yesterday in Berlin, Warsaw and Poznań.

Oxfam International Deputy Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, Natalia Alonso, said:

“These life jackets stand for the thousands of children, women and men who have been attempting to reach Europe by sea. They are a reminder to European leaders of their responsibility to protect and help vulnerable people in search of a life in dignity and safety.

“The EU’s migration response does not solve problems, it creates new ones. It is now time for an EU U-turn: Fortress Europe has failed to adequately support people who have arrived on European shores.

“Shutting down borders does not stop people from looking for safety, dignity and a better life, but actually forces people to use more dangerous and exploitative routes. It increases the suffering of vulnerable people.”

Oxfam advocates for the EU to expand safe and regular routes to Europe for refugees and other migrants. All EU member states need to provide a fair, transparent and efficient asylum system.

Notes to editors

  • Pictures and videos from the stunts in Brussels, Berlin and Warsaw are available for free use by media.
  • Spokespersons are available for further comments on the EU summit and the EU’s migration response.
  • Ahead of the EU summit, Oxfam has published the media briefing paper “Causing suffering and problems - Europe’s approach to migration”. Read our press release and the full briefing paper.
  • In June, more than 130 NGOs strongly condemned new EU policies to contain migration through conditional development cooperation.

Contact information

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

For updates, please follow @Oxfam and @OxfamEU

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