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Why we must address the root causes of the refugee crisis

For as long as
People will make dangerous journeys for as long as what is behind them is more terrifying than what is in front.

EU Ministers are meeting today to agree a collective response to the refugee crisis.

Writing in The Times (£), Save the Children – alongside ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, and Oxfam – has called on the EU to seize this opportunity and not only agree a comprehensive response to the escalating refugee crisis in Europe, but also address its root cause in Syria.

Millions inside Syria are struggling, with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt overwhelmed by refugees.

The leaders of five of the UK’s biggest aid agencies have come together to call for a collective, international response that puts the rights of the Syrian people at its heart – wherever they are.

Our joint letter applauds the global leadership the UK has already shown in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. It argues that, as a result, the UK is in a strong place to play a leading role in securing this response, working with European partners to step up diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful settlement.

We must play our part

However, we are concerned that, until the UK accepts our responsibility to the refugees that have already reached Europe, we will struggle to exert our influence.

In the last week, the nation has been shocked and moved to demand action on the refugee crisis at our door. While the Prime Minister’s offer to accept 20,000 refugees directly from regional camps is welcome, it does not go far enough.

Only when we play our full part in addressing the refugee crisis here in Europe can we also step up and help lead a coordinated effort to solve the conflict in Syria.

This global crisis shows no signs of abating. Just yesterday, 34 people – including 15 babies and children – drowned when their boat capsized off a Greek island.

People will make dangerous journeys for as long as what is behind them is more terrifying than what is in front; the EU must start working towards a solution today.

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