“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36
In light of the on-going refugee crisis in Europe, we call on WSCF-Europe SCMs to show their solidarity with refugees reaching Europe and join us in prayers for those who have lost their lives on their way to Europe and those still fleeing war and persecution at home. We, as the faith-based organization, cannot stay silent when observing refugees’ and migrants’ death, their suffering and desperate walks to survive.
We are joining other ecumenical organizations committed to peace and justice in call on political leaders and those in power to protect the vulnerable, through respecting the core human rights and dignity of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in line with relevant international conventions.
WSCF-Europe calls on European Union and its member states to agree on more humanitarian migration policies, that ensures proper reception conditions and safe passages to Europe. This will prevent people turning to smugglers or appear in hands of traffickers.
As the problem cannot be solved if we do not address the drivers of the forced migration, we call on international community to act for sustainable peace-building and agree on coordinated strategy against Islamic State and other extremist actors causing death and forcing people to migrate against their will.
One of the biggest challenges in relation to the process is the rapid rise of xenophobia all over Europe. Since misconception fuels xenophobia, the happenings should be referred as a refugee crisis as it is and not as a migrant crisis. Another false perception that stimulates xenophobia is about Islam that it endangers Christian civilization and values. Therefore, proper definitions, knowledge and responsible media reporting are as vital as it forms people’s perception on on-going processes. WSCF SCMs should intensify its work on ground to raise awareness, inform and educate young people and local communities on the crisis and engage them in an open and meaningful dialogue to counter xenophobia and violence towards refugees.
WSCF-Europe acknowledging its role in ending negative stereotyping of refugees and migrants, people that come from different cultural, social or religious backgrounds, through its educational and informational projects on the local and regional levels. To dismiss stereotypes is a long process, but it has to be done before it is too late. On this basis, the federation should use its unique potential to make a difference by working together to change existing migration narrative to something positive.
Staying loyal to our humanist traditions and show empathy and compassion is desperately needed for our sisters and brothers reaching Europe’s shores and leaving behind homes and loved ones. Our history teaches us that closing borders, building walls to keep refugees out and leaving people behind a fence is simply not working. We need and must continue campaigning for peace and justice.
As the ecumenical student organization we invite other youth organizations in Europe to join us in prayer and solidarity with people in need of protection, as well as to act and advocate together to promote peace between the communities. We all have to encourage each other to see individual personalities behind refugees, not a crowd.
We, as peace-loving community, are considering it as our battle to fight for peace, dignity, justice, non-violence, compassion and love.
Please share and distribute this Statement in your communities.
We also invite you to pray with us.
This solidarity statement was produced by WSCF-E Advocacy and Solidarity team:
Krista Autio, Global Networking Coordinator
Yulia Bajelidze, Global Advocacy and Solidarity Committee member