The German Evangelical Alliance, the EKD (Germany’s mainline Protestant Church), humanitarian relief NGO World Vision, and other civil society representatives have signed a document asking the German government to react to the European refugee crisis with courageous decisions.
The document comes as European countries try to find solutions to protect the lives of asylum seekers while supporting Greece and other Mediterranean countries such as Italy and Spain, who have seen thousands arrive at their coasts in the last months.
The document talks of “those who suffer, especially the children, who continue persevere in Lesbos, and some of whom we have met ourselves”. The fire that destroyed Camp Moria, the biggest refugee camp in Europe with over 12,000 people, at the beginning of September, has worsened an already “catastrophic” situation, they say.
Safe locations for refugees in Germany and elsewhere
The Christian and social organisations demand real answers. “A situation like the one in the former Moria camp must not be allowed to repeat itself – not on Lesbos or anywhere else (…) If minimum humanitarian standards are not met locally, people have to be taken to places where this is the case – in Greece or in other European countries”.
The position of the German Evangelical Alliance and the other signatories is that “more refugees must be brought to safe locations in Germany and other EU member states”. They underline that in Germany, there is “a great willingness from federal states, municipalities and churches to receive” these people, an offering that the German government should take “seriously”.
Especially, “in the area of family reunification, there are many opportunities in Germany to better implement applicable law in the interests of those seeking protection in Greece”.
The importance of honest and open debates
The document laments that “although the debate about the admission of refugees is happening on many social levels”, it “often lacks neutral spaces of discussion”. The signatories believe these platforms for honest dialogue should be expanded.
The statement has been signed as well by politicians of the Green Party, The Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats.
Read the full joint statement on the German Evangelical Alliance’s website (German).