In the wake of the EU mee­ting in Brussels star­ting on 9th of March, more than 150 orga­ni­sa­ti­ons across Euro­pe appeal to the Heads of Sta­te and Government.

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
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
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
36 Cen­tar za inte­gra­ci­ju mla­dih
37 Cen­tro per la For­ma­zio­ne alla Soli­da­rie­tà Inter­na­zio­na­le
38 Cer­cle de Coo­pé­ra­ti­on
43 CIRÉ (coor­di­na­ti­on et initia­ti­ves pour réfu­giés et étran­gers)
44 CISV Onlus
45 Civic Com­mit­tee for Human Rights from Croa­tia (CCHR)
47 CODE – Coor­di­na­ti­on des ONG pour les droits de l’enfant
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)
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
77 Fin­nish League for Human Rights (FLHR)
78 Fin­nish Lutheran Over­se­as Mis­si­on
79 Fin­nish Refu­gee Coun­cil
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
96 Isla­mic Reli­ef UK
97 JRS
98 JRS Bel­gi­um
99 KISA – Action for Equa­li­ty, Sup­port, Anti­ra­cism
100 Kopin
101 La Stra­da Inter­na­tio­nal
102 Lafede.cat- 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
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
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)
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
152 United Pro­tes­tant Church in Bel­gi­um
153 Welt­hun­ger­hil­fe
154 WeWorld
155 with the sup­port of CONCORD Euro­pe
156 World Visi­on
All pressreleases