March 6 2014: The Resettlement Saves Lives campaign today endorses the newly launched European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) campaign entitled Europe Act Now (www.helpsyriasrefugees.eu). This four-month pan-European campaign is petitioning European leaders to act now to ensure refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria can access protection in the EU. The Europe Act Now campaign echoes the message of Resettlement Saves Lives and the recent call by UNHCR by requesting that Member States offer more resettlement and humanitarian admission places for Syrian refugees.
Since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria, more than 2.4 million people, half of whom are children, have been forced to flee their homes. UNHCR estimates that there will be 4 million refugees in the region by the end of 2014. A figure equivalent to just 3 percent of these men, women and children have sought protection in the EU, Norway and Switzerland. While recognition rates for refugees fleeing the conflict are high in most European countries, many refugees often face life-threatening challenges in accessing the territory so that they can benefit from international protection, including difficulty in obtaining visas, pushbacks at EU borders and stringent family reunification requirements.
In addition to offering more resettlement and humanitarian admission places, Europe Act Now urges European governments to implement measures to create safe and legal channels for Syria’s refugees to reach Europe and access protection, including by granting access to protection through embassies, facilitating family reunification, continuing the suspension of all returns to Syria and neighbouring countries, respecting the principle of 'non refoulement' at land, air and sea borders, and guaranteeing prompt and effective access to asylum procedures.
Europe Act Now calls on European citizens to amplify the voices of Syria’s refugees by donating their Twitter feed to people fleeing the crisis, sharing the campaign message on Facebook, and by signing the Europe Act Now petition. Click here to find out more about how you can give your voice in support of the campaign.