RESOLUTION – Solidarity with refugees, end Fortress Europe!

Preamble

While tens of thousands of asylum seekers die in the Mediterranean and on other routes, seeking to escape conflict and persecution, the EU’s immigration policy is failing the EU’s values. Far-right parties and governments have been allowed to shape the narrative around migration, which is more xenophobic than ever. As Jews, people with a rich, long and complex history of migration, we have a moral duty to lead the way on standing up for a more compassionate migration system in Europe – with safe and legal passage routes, and the end to cruel detention practices.


EUJS notes:

  1. The Mediterranean continues to be a dangerous route for refugees and asylum seekers, with thousands of lives, including children, lost at sea in their search for safety and a better life.
  2. According to the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, over 27,700 migrants have been reported missing in the Mediterranean since 2014 – with the true number likely to be a lot higher because of the difficulties in accurate monitoring and reporting.
  3. The first quarter of 2023 has been the deadliest in six years, with over 400 deaths in the Mediterranean. This is likely to have increased due to the outbreak of conflict in Sudan since then.
  4. The 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended in 1967, acknowledges the principle of non-refoulement – that is, refugees should not be returned to any country where their life or freedom would be in danger.
  5. The EU provides large sums of financial support to Turkey and Libya in exchange for their cooperation in reducing the flow of refugees and other migrants.

EUJS believes:

  1. Europe’s widespread welcome of Ukrainian refugees is a positive reflection of our European values and the commitment to provide protection to those fleeing conflict and persecution. This must continue.
  2. Meanwhile, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants fleeing conflicts and persecution in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan or Sudan are frequently dehumanised by far-right politicians and media outlets, with references to “swarms” or “tsunamis”.
  3. The €6 billion EU-Turkey deal has undermined the core values the EU claims to espouse, while fuelling a dangerous narrative of populism which far-right politicians have exploited. The deal also hasn’t met its aims – a negligible number of migrants have been returned, and it has led to severe overcrowding in Greek camps on islands like Lesbos, with tens of thousands of refugees left in limbo.
  4. The reports of abuse, extortion and torture faced by asylum seekers detained in Libya – which is financially supported by the EU – is a consequence of the EU’s broken migration policy.
  5. Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has been involved in inhumane practices and human rights violations in its handling of refugees and asylum seekers attempting to cross European borders.
  6. Safe and legal routes for refugees and asylum seekers are essential to ensure their protection and to prevent unnecessary loss of life during their journey to Europe.

EUJS resolves to:

  1. Express our full solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean and on the Balkan routes. 
  2. Urge European governments to take urgent measures to immediately prevent further loss of life and ensure their safe passage, and for the EU to adopt a more compassionate migration strategy. 
  3. Advocate for the establishment of safe and legal routes for refugees and asylum seekers to access Europe, promoting the principles of compassion, humanity, and respect for international law. 
  4. Support initiatives that foster understanding and empathy between different cultures, religions, and communities, including interfaith and intercultural exchange programs, to build bridges and counter xenophobia and racism in all forms. 
  5. Collaborate with other minority groups and suitable organisations to promote the protection of fundamental human rights for all, and foster a culture of peace, equality, and solidarity within Europe. 
  6. Continue to promote and send delegations of Jewish activists to humanitarian programs such as IsraAid, HIAS and other relevant partners. 
  7. Continue supporting NARN – EUJS’s human rights activism hub – in its new campaign focusing on refugee rights and advocating for safe passage routes.

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