Doris Peschke is General Secretary of Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe. She addressed delegates attending the Have No Fear conference in Lunteren, Netherlands, organised by CCME, Conference of European Churches (CEC), World Council of Churches (WCC) and Protestantse Kerk.
You can follow Doris’ slides below as you listen to the talk.
Doris began by questioning whether Europe truly had a ‘refugee crisis’. 95% of refugees are hosted in Middle East and African countries. Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq are the major countries of origin. Looking at the global scale, Europe was ill-prepared to cope with a relatively small number of people.
She reminded delegates that in July 2015 the EU Council pledged to relocate 33,000 refugees. Delivery does not match up with the promise. By December just 270 people had been relocated. That number has only risen to around 2,000 today.
The uptake of relocation and resettlement schemes across Europe varies greatly by country. Providing accurate and pertinent information about available options to refugees seeking advice is complex. How should families go about reuniting when spread across different countries in Europe? Are smugglers ever a good way to travel?
Doris highlighted the importance of the sequence of statements from church organisations and the ongoing discussions with governments.
Church visits to Italy, Greece, Hungary and Serbia amplify the voice of refugees and bring the issue to life for people across Europe.
She continued to advocate for the Safe Passage proposals.
Finally she challenged churches to ensure that refugees weren’t merely treated as recipients but were treated with equality, bringing potential and “treasure” into the life of churches and society.