Children play in the refugee camp at Kara Tepe on Lesbos island, Greece | Photo: EPA/Orestis Panagiotou
Children play in the refugee camp at Kara Tepe on Lesbos island, Greece | Photo: EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Save the Children has released a video inspired by the famous Hans Christian Andersen story, The Little Match Girl. Coming on the heels of the Pope's visit to the Greek island of Lesbos, the video urges viewers to change the story's ending, by asking Europe to respect the rights and dignity of migrants, especially children.

As Europe tries to deal with what Pope Francis has described as a "shipwreck of civilization" at its borders, Save the Children has released a video to re-launch the initiative #greenlanterns, to ask member countries to protect and host migrants who are out in the cold and who are asking Europe for help.

A statement released by the organization on Thursday, December 7, said Save the Children reimagined the old Christmas story in which a girl freezes to death in the end, turning it into an urgent plea to change its ending together.

The campaign is promoted by, among others, Catholic daily Avvenire, weekly l'Espresso, Save the Children Italia, and television programs like Propaganda Live on La7, along with many individuals and associations.

The campaign urges everybody to light a green lantern in their home, offices, stores or on Christmas trees and nativity scenes, to ask Europe to protect those fleeing war and poverty.

'A more human policy'

The director general of Save the Children Italia, Daniela Fatarella, said that "with this initiative, as stressed in a letter sent to Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, we ask the Italian government and the European Union for a more human policy, which welcomes vulnerable people, recognizing the rights and dignity of people stranded at the borders of the EU, in the full respect of moral principles and legal statutes of the Union."

"We ask to immediately end border pushbacks, to allow access into EU territory to apply for international protection, and for people stranded at the border with Belarus to have food, water, clothes, adequate medical care and shelter, as already ordered by the European Court of Human Rights.

"It is indispensable to immediately guarantee access to border areas to humanitarian organizations, to bring aid and protect in particular the most vulnerable, like children who are alone or with their families," concluded Fatarella.


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