Two boys walk on a road where asylum seekers from the destroyed Moria camp find shelter near a new temporary camp, Mytilene, Greece, September 14, 2020 | Photo: EPA/DIMITRIS TOSIDIS
Two boys walk on a road where asylum seekers from the destroyed Moria camp find shelter near a new temporary camp, Mytilene, Greece, September 14, 2020 | Photo: EPA/DIMITRIS TOSIDIS

The Community of Sant'Egidio, the Jesuit Refugee Service, and the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo are appealing to Europe to immediately welcome the migrants and refugees who remain displaced on the Greek island of Lesbos after a fire destroyed the Moria migrant camp.

In support of Pope Francis, who on Sunday during the Angelus prayer repeated the need to ensure "humane and dignified accommodation to those seeking asylum," the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo have launched an appeal to Europe to immediately accommodate the migrants who remain displaced on the Greek island of Lesbos after a fire destroyed the Moria migrant camp. 

In a joint statement released Monday, the organizations said, "after the fire that destroyed the camp and created enormous difficulties for those people already living in hell, may the situation never go back to the way it was. The European Union, in cooperation with the Greek Government, must intervene immediately to welcome and integrate an amount of people which is doubtlessly within its reach. Important decisions must be taken urgently, in the coming hours, to save the most vulnerable ones, starting with the sick, women and children." 

The appeal from the three organizations 

The three organizations that jointly released the statement are calling in particular for: "finding, as soon as possible, small accommodations with facilities, for those who are displaced as a consequence of the fire that destroyed the Moria camp; ensuring free access to humanitarian organisations in order to assist refugees in their most immediate needs, especially as far as the sick, women, children and the elderly are concerned; deciding, both at the EU level and at the level of individual European countries, on the necessary relocation not only of unaccompanied minors but also of vulnerable families and individuals from the island; changing the reception model on the islands for new arrivals from Turkey by providing reception facilities on a transitional basis, that may be manageable and respectful of human dignity, thus safeguarding the right of every refugee, whatever its origin, to seek asylum". 

The experience of humanitarian corridors 

The three organizations also recalled in their statement that "since February 2016, the experience of the humanitarian corridors was also created and launched, in Lesbos, by Pope Francis himself when, he decided, on April 16th, 2016 -- with the intervention of the Office of Papal Charities and the Community of Sant'Egidio -- to take with him on his plane the first three families, for a total amount of 67 refugees. 

"We must continue on this path, together with other alternative programmes of access to international protection, in order to keep on saving refugees through networking with many associations, parishes and ordinary citizens who are willing to receive with great generosity." 

The organizations cited a January 28 letter by Cardinals Krajewski, Hollerich and Czerny to the European Bishops Conference, in which the cardinals recalled that "the experiences already begun in some countries show that the possibilities of good reception are higher than hoped." 

The organizations said they also hope the European Bishops Conferences will urge their respective governments to develop new projects for reception and integration. 

"These two practices are not just good for refugees, but also - in terms of values and future - for all European citizens," the organisations said. ()
 

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