Don't use migrants as bargaining chip!

Open letter to European leaders on refugee and migration crisis signed by 20 NGOs

20 organisations working with refugees and migrants in Europe have called on EU leaders to take action to stop the humanitarian crisis unfolding at Europe's borders. As the 28 leaders meet on 17 March, and with Turkey on 18 March, NGOs warn that the containment approach to migration is costing lives, and that people, not borders, are in need of protection.

Recent moves to close borders have forced tens of thousands of people into confined areas without access to shelter, food, healthcare and water. Yet Europe has the capacity to manage the current humanitarian situation effectively and humanely, if leaders take steps to:

  • create more safe, transparent, legal options for temporary and permanent access to the EU, especially for those seeking protection
  • ensure safety at sea and at borders -- no more lives can be lost at sea
  • provide humane reception conditions for all people who arrive at Europe's borders to ensure that people's rights and human dignity are respected
  • take action to protect the most vulnerable, especially the tens of thousands children arriving alone
  • ensure that everyone is able to exercise the fundamental international right to claim asylum
  • protect the basic human dignity of every person arriving at Europe's borders, regardless of their status, nationality, or means of travel. All human beings have human rights and deserve to be treated with respect.