ALERT – Handicap International joins 160 NGOs to call on EU to lead by values in migration response | March 8, 2017

Ahead of this week’s Summit, 160 NGOs signed a joint statement to remind EU leaders of their commitments to European values and call them to uphold them in the response to migration. Handicap International is joining this call for a strong leadership consistent with the rights and values that have been the founding principles of […]

Ahead of this week’s Summit, 160 NGOs signed a joint statement to remind EU leaders of their commitments to European values and call them to uphold them in the response to migration.

Handicap International is joining this call for a strong leadership consistent with the rights and values that have been the founding principles of the European Union for 60 years.

Read the statement:

Dear Heads of state and government,

We are civil society organisations, which are supported, collectively, by hundreds of thousands of people across Europe, working with those less fortunate to alleviate poverty, provide essential aid and defend people’s rights.

With xenophobic populism on the rise across Europe and the globe, this is an appeal for leadership to uphold the rights and values that have been founding principles of the European Union for 60 years. Together, we need to prevent legitimate concerns about migration management from being hijacked and used to derail the European project.

On a daily basis, we witness widespread solidarity with people who are fleeing brutal wars, persecution, human rights violations, instability, and extreme poverty. Throughout Europe and the world, we see people welcome refugees and migrants into their communities, open up their homes and donate money, materials and time to help. Only this week, many of them travelled to Brussels to call on you to uphold your commitments to relocate asylum seekers from Greece and “Bring Them Here”. We also hear people expressing their concerns about the future, asking their governments to show leadership and respond to the arrival of large numbers of people.

We take pride in the European commitment to international law and human rights and we look to you to foster and promote this commitment at home and abroad. Yet when increasing numbers of people in need arrived in the summer of 2015, Europe failed to come together and respond with humanity, dignity, and solidarity.  To this day, European nations are unwilling to respond in in line with their obligations under international and European law, defaulting to responses that keep people far away and out of sight.

We hear you repeating your commitment to European values – respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights. But we expect to see them in your actions, too. Too many leaders have been preoccupied with stopping people from reaching Europe, at the risk of reducing access to protection for those who need it the most.

You have the responsibility to manage migration in a fair manner that addresses the legitimate concerns of citizens. It must be principled and based on facts, not on populist rhetoric. Strength doesn’t mean turning away those most in need. Strength is about showing a way forward that upholds values.

Further, if the EU and its member states want to remain credible international actors, they cannot expect countries like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to host millions of refugees, while simultaneously pushing migrants and refugees back at EU borders, stranding thousands in inhumane living conditions on the Greek islands, or pushing them back into an uncontrolled conflict zone like Libya. Your decisions have life and death consequences, and if you continue to lower standards, countries around the globe will follow suit.

Instead of countering the rise of xenophobic populists, Europe’s response has too often been to copy their recipes. But an approach based on deterrence and border closures cannot override an effective long-term policy. We expect statesmanship that stands up for humanity and dignity and that addresses people’s fears, instead of fuelling them. We expect sustainable, long-term migration policies that guarantee respect for people’s rights rather than pushing them into danger. These include expanding safe and regular pathways to Europe, such as humanitarian and other visas, increasing resettlement spaces and improving access to family reunification schemes, as well as improving worker mobility across skill levels. Other global concerns such as conflict and instability, poverty, inequality and climate change must remain at the top of the European agenda.

You and your governments must assess the impact of your policies on the human rights and living conditions of women, men and children on the move, as well as Europe’s long standing commitment to uphold these rights and improve the lives of people everywhere.

On the brink of the European Union’s 60th anniversary we ask you to show solidarity, respect for humanity and dignity, and responsibility. We ask you to be truly inspiring leaders for the future. Our commitment to the European Union’s core values cannot falter. Only a Europe that really stands by its values can be a strong and credible leader in a world shaken by increasing populism and so-called alternative facts.

European history is full of people who were forced to flee their homes due to war and persecution.  The work European nations have done to develop and protect the rights of people over the last 70 years cannot be lost. Only a Europe that defends the rights of everyone, without exception, is a Europe we can be proud of.



1             Fundación Atabal

2             A Proposito di Altri Mondi Onlus

3             ACAT

4             ACF

5             ACRA

6             ACT Alliance EU

7             Action Against Hunger

8             ActionAid Italy

9             ADP Amici dei Popoli

10          African Media Association Malta

11          Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l’Homme

12          AI.BI. Amici dei Bambini

13          AIDOS

14          Albanian Human Rights Group (AHRG)

15          AMERA International

16          Amnesty International

17          Anna Lindh National Network in Finland

18          AOI – Associazione Organizzazioni Italiane cooperazione e solidarietà internazionale

19          Arsis

20          ASGi – Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione

21          Asociacion en Prevencion y Asistencia de la Violencia   APAV

22          Asociación pro derechos humanos de España (APDHE)

23          ASPEm Onlus

24          Associació Salut i Família

25          Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme

26          Associaton for Integration and Migration (SIMI)

27          Associazione K_Alma

28          ASTI – Association de Soutien aux Travailleurs Immigrés

29          Austrian Red Cross

30          Care International

31          CARITAS – Luxembourg

32          Caritas Europa

33          CEFA Onlus

34          CEFIS

35          CELIM

36          Centar za integraciju mladih

37          Centro per la Formazione alla Solidarietà Internazionale

38          Cercle de Coopération

39          CESVI

40          CIAI

41          CICSENE

42          CIES

43          CIRÉ (coordination et initiatives pour réfugiés et étrangers)

44          CISV Onlus

45          Civic Committee for Human Rights from Croatia (CCHR)

46          CLAE

47          CODE – Coordination des ONG pour les droits de l’enfant

48          COMI

49          Comitato Collaborazione Medica CCM

50          Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ)

51          Concord Italia

52          CONCORD Sweden

53          Consejo de la Juventud de España

54          Consortium of Migrants Assisting Organizations in the Czech Republic

55          Consorzio Ong Piemontesi COP

56          Coordinamento Italiano NGO Internazionali

57          Cordaid

58          COSPE Onlus

59          CrEA Onlus

60          CVM Comunità Volontari per il Mondo

61          Danish Refugee Council

62          Detention Action

63          Diaconia – Center of Relief and Development

64          DNK – German National Committee for International Youth Work

65          Doras

66          Dorcas Aid International

67          Dutch Council for Refugees

68          Dutch League for Human Rights (DLHR)


70          EU-CORD

71          EuroMed Rights

72          European Evangelical Alliance

73          European Non-Governmental Sports Organisation ENGSO Youth

74          European Youth Forum

75          Federación de Asociaciones para la Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos España

76          FIDH

77          Finnish League for Human Rights (FLHR)

78          Finnish Lutheran Overseas Mission

79          Finnish Refugee Council

80          FMSI

81          FOCSIV – Federazione Organismi Cristiani Servizio Internazionale Volontario

82          Fondazione Fontana

83          Generation 2.0 for Rights ,Equality and Diversity

84          GVC

85          Habitat for Humanity International, Europe, Middle East and Africa

86          Handicap International

87          Hellenic League for Human Rights (HLHR)

88          Human Rights Watch

89          International Aid Services

90          International Association For Refugees

91          International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

92          International Rescue Committee

93          International Young Naturefriends – IYNF

94          INTERSOS

95          IPSIA

96          Islamic Relief UK

97          JRS

98          JRS Belgium

99          KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism

100        Kopin

101        La Strada International

102 Federació catalana

103        Latin American Wome’s Rights Service (LAWRS) – UK

104        Latvian Human Rights Committee (LHRC)

105        Le Monde des Possibles ASBL

106        Legambiente

107        LIDU – Lega italiana dei Diritti dell’Uomo

108        Ligue des Droits de l’homme en Belgique (LDH)

109        Ligue suisse des droits de l’homme (LSDH)

110        Link2007 – Cooperazione in rete

111        LVIA

112        Macedonian Young Lawyers Association

113        MANI TESE

114        Marche solidali – coordinamento organizzazioni marchigiane di cooperazione e solidarietà internazionale

115        Menedek – Hungarian Association for Migrants

116        Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

117        Missing Children Europe

118        Movimento Shalom onlus

119        Naga

120        Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre

121        Norwegian Centre against Racism

122        One Third Sweden

123        ONG para el Desarrollo

124        Osservatorio AIDS

125        Overseas

126        Oxfam

127        Pax for Peace

128        PICUM

129        Platform Kinderen op de vlucht – Plate-forme Mineurs en exil

130        Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

131        Polish Migration Forum

132        Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law (PSAL)

133        Pro asyl

134        PRO.DO.C.S.

135        ProgettoMondo Mlal

136        Rainbow for Africa

137        Red Acoge

138        Save the Children

139        Secours Islamique France

140        SKOP – The National Platform of Maltese Development NGOs

141        SONIA per un Mondo Nuovo e Giusto

142        SPARK15

143        stichting LOS (National Support Organisation for the Undocumented)

144        Stichting Vluchteling

145        Swedish Refugee Advice Centre

146        Terra Nuova

147        Terre des Hommes

148        The Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU Kehys

149        The Migrants’ Rights Network

150        Trócaire

151        U.V.I.S.P.-ASSISI

152        United Protestant Church in Belgium

153        Welthungerhilfe

154        WeWorld

155        with the support of CONCORD Europe

156        World Vision



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