(ANS – Brussels) – With enormous and growing numbers of people fleeing Ukraine, Europe is facing the largest refugee movement since World War II. For this reason, several religious organizations from across Europe, representing all the Christian Churches present on the continent, as well as several institutions active on the issues of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, have signed a joint statement in which they support the application of the Temporary Protection Directive to Ukrainian refugees and suggest several proposals in the management of this emergency. Among the signatories is also Don Bosco International, the body that represents the Salesian Congregation to the institutions of the European Union.
The signatory Christian organizations declare themselves deeply committed to the safeguarding of the inviolable dignity of the human person created in the image of God, as well as to the common good, global solidarity and the promotion of a society that welcomes foreigners and values freedom, security and justice.
Since the outbreak of the war, “many of our members have responded to the exodus from Ukraine, setting up both small and large-scale support structures, opening the doors of parishes, private houses, or church institutions across Europe, and transferring large scale support to border countries and, where still possible, into Ukraine,” the statement says.
Now the Christian organizations in Europe indicate several steps to be taken at the political and practical level to respond to the emergency, aware that the spontaneous solidarity shown by so many individuals is an enormous value, but that the activities of so many volunteers cannot compensate for the “much needed support and coordination, which is and must remain a state responsibility.”
The signatories support the decision of the Council of the European Union to activate the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) and to introduce operational guidelines to facilitate border crossings at the EU-Ukraine borders; and also welcome the mobilization and flexibility of EU funding to address the needs of Ukrainian refugees, as well as the adoption of a pragmatic approach to helping refugees, for example by allowing them to choose which EU member state to go to.
“These practices and policies show that Europe can be a champion of refugee protection if it wants to,” affirm the Christian organizations; which subsequently appeal to the institutions of the different States and the EU to ensure that the Temporary Protection Directive is applied in a harmonized manner, consistent with the principles that animate it and in all its aspects, therefore including the rights of refugees regarding access to work, recognition of qualifications, housing, health, education…
Furthermore, the declaration indicates other suggestions regarding other relevant aspects, such as, for example, the criteria for the redistribution of refugees between EU countries; the need for special attention to the social segments most at risk (disabled people, women, Roma, unaccompanied minors…); the distribution of and access to resources allocated for the emergency; support and control regarding the reception of refugees in private accommodation…
The declaration also suggests a commitment to stigmatize all hate speech against Russian citizens, distinguishing them from the aggressor regime that unleashed the war; and finally, it calls for not neglecting other groups of refugees deserving the same protection in this emergency.
Source: ANS – “Agência iNfo Salesiana”