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5 point plan to tackle refugee crisis


Monday, 14 September 2015

European Ministers meeting in Brussels today, Monday 14th September, are being urged to agree to a comprehensive plan to tackle the escalating refugee crisis, which has seen 380,000 men, women and children make the perilous journey to reach Europe this year alone.

It is estimated that at least 2,850 people have tragically lost their lives whilst trying to reach sanctuary in Europe this year alone, including thousands of children fleeing bombs, bullets and torture in warzones like Syria.

Save the Children’s new 5 point plan – released in advance of today’s summit – sets out what European Minister must do to stem the escalating humanitarian crisis.

The plan includes resettlement targets, greater aid to the countries refugees flee from, a call to maintain search and rescue operations at sea and the setting up a proper system of safe routes to Europe and reception centers for asylum seekers.

Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children, said: “Europe’s Home Affairs and Justice Ministers must deal with this head on and come together for the sake of the thousands of children whose lives are at risk.

“While we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement to take 20,000 additional Syrian refugees, we are concerned about the thousands of unaccompanied child refugees already in Europe and are urging the UK to relocate 3,000 of these vulnerable children who are here alone.

“Save the Children’s 5 point plan tackles not just the immediate question of how to give sanctuary to those fleeing for their lives to Europe but also sets out how to tackle the root causes of conflicts from which many children and families have fled.

“The UK Government has been particularly generous in its support of Syria’s neighbouring countries but this impressive legacy is not matched by the whole of Europe. The contributions of too many countries remain woefully inadequate. They must now follow the UK’s lead and commit more aid to Syria’s overburdened neighbours.

“Home Secretary Theresa May and other EU ministers must agree a bold comprehensive European response which matches both the scale of the challenge and the compassion of the public.”

The 5 point plan calls on European governments to:
1. Maintain search and rescue operations with a mandate and capability equal to the task of saving lives in the Mediterranean;
2. Provide safe and legal routes into Europe to tackle trafficking and people smuggling;
3. Urgently scale up reception and support facilities;
4. Provide relocation and resettlement programmes, with special priority for children, which are equal to the task of the worst refugee crisis since World War Two;
5. Have regional plans – including sufficient aid – for the countries refugees are fleeing from which tackle the root causes of the refugee crisis.

ENDS

Note to editors

No one country or government can provide the solution to this crisis – it must instead be a comprehensive European response. Save the Children’s recommendations are detailed in our 5 point plan.

So far in 2015 more than 380,000 desperate people made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea – tragically 2,850 people have died or are missing. In Italy alone, 8,566 children have arrived alone this year, without any parents or families at all, according to Save the Children and the Italian Ministry of Interior.

Save the Children run programmes across five regions, protecting children as they flee alone or with their families and those children who are trafficked or exploited. We work along the route that refugees take: we work in the countries they are fleeing – countries like Syria, where brutal war has ripped apart the lives of millions, and Afghanistan and Iraq. We work in countries that are known as ‘transit countries’, those en route, like Turkey, Serbia, Greece and Italy – ensuring the children are protected wherever possible. We also work in countries like Germany, to ensure that these children understand their rights and have access to care and support.

The most vulnerable, particularly children and families, need to be protected and have their basic needs met, including food, water and shelter. Right now, the conditions people are living in, many of whom have fled war and conflict in search of safety, are inadequate.

For interviews with Save the Children in Brussels or London, and for information on spokespeople and media trips in Lebanon please contact: Valentina Bollenback on v.bollenback@savethechildren.org.uk / 07770940519.