Argument

Europe must deliver humanitarian visas to refugees

Today, more than 60 million people worldwide are displaced by war, violence and persecution. This is the highest number there has ever been since the end of World War II. Only a minority have found refuge in Europe or in industrialised countries: currently 86% of refugees are taken in by developing countries.

Since 2000, more than 32,000 people have already perished in the Mediterranean Sea whilst trying to reach Europe, 3,700 of whom died in the single year2015. Today, Europe is the most dangerous destination in the world for refugees and migrants. Despite this, a migrant family usually spends considerable sums to reach Europe. This money funds the smugglers who, thanks to refugees, have grossed more than 15 billion euros since 2000.

Yet there is a simple solution to end the ordeal that refugees must endure to get to Europe. A solution that would have many benefits for the host country, but which nobody seems to be considering at the moment. It is simply a matter of issuing humanitarian visas to those who are fleeing war and thus create real humanitarian corridors so that refugees can find the protection to which they are legitimately and legally entitled.

Issuing humanitarian visas and allowing refugees to arrive by plane means, above all, enabling them to arrive alive. To arrive in a dignified manner, to be better received and therefore potentially to be better integrated into Europe.  It would also allow the most vulnerable to find protection and stop this intolerable discrimination which means that only the wealthy can afford to seek shelter and safety.

One of the priority objectives of the European Union today is the fight against illegal networks of smugglers and traffickers. If refugees can arrive by plane thanks to a humanitarian visa, they cease to be dependent on smugglers, and the business would lose its reason for existence. It is the absence of a humanitarian corridor that creates the conditions for the human smuggling business.

The price of a plane ticket to Europe is much cheaper for refugees than that of a passage on a boat. To reach Europe, many have handed over all their savings to the smugglers. However, this money would have been very useful to support them in starting life again in Europe or in rebuilding their lives in their country, once return is possible. Allowing refugees to arrive by plane would thus also allow them to avoid arriving destitute in Europe and could also help promote return to their countries of origin.

The fear that potential terrorists can slip in amongst refugees is now much more intense: the issuing of humanitarian visas would verify the identity of individuals before they arrive on the ground in the host country, and thus significantly reduce the risk of terrorism.  The arrival of refugees by boat in locations with inadequate reception facilities does not currently allow this to happen.

The arrival of refugees has created an unprecedented political crisis in Europe: the first countries where the refugees arrive – Italy, Greece and Hungary – are overwhelmed by the crisis. Issuing humanitarian visas and allowing refugees to arrive by plane would also permit better alignment between the countries the refugees wish to travel to and the countries that wish to admit them. This would allow refugees to be better distributed within Europe and would relieve pressure on the areas of first arrival. This would at last make it possible for a real European response to be deployed, one worthy of Europe’s political plan.

Although Europe has rightly been attacked for its handling of the crisis, the EU should not neglect to mention the indifference of other countries that could also welcome refugees.  These countries could also allocate humanitarian visas and Europe would not then be alone in having to manage the situation.

For all these reasons, we believe that humanitarian visas are a pragmatic and common sense solution that would restore safe passage so that no more refugees would die searching for protection. It is an emergency.

(Fr) Appel de Neuchâtel

Sorry, this entry is only available in French.

Médias – Appel de Neuchâtel

INVITATION AUX MÉDIAS (version PDF)

(version PDF)

Conférence de presse
21 juin 2016
14 h 00

Hôtel Alpes et Lac
Neuchâtel

Intervenants

Pr Cesla Amarelle, professeure de Droit, conseillère nationale

Dr Bernard Borel, président Médecins du Monde Suisse

Mme Ruth Dreifuss, ancienne présidente de la Confédération

M. François Gemenne, chercheur et spécialiste des flux migratoires

Dr Thomas Nierle, président Médecins Sans Frontières Suisse

Mme Manon Schick, directrice Amnesty Suisse

Modération

Pr Nago Humbert, président fondateur Médecins du Monde Suisse

Contact

Antoine Morata, responsable communication Médecins du Monde,

0041 (32) 725 36 65, antoine.morata@medecinsdumonde.ch

 

 

(Fr) Médecins du Monde

(Fr) Amnesty International

(Fr) Destination Unknown / Fédération Terre des hommes

(Fr) Handicap International

(Fr) Solidarité Sans Frontières

(Fr) CFD

(Fr) Coordination asile.ge

(Fr) Aravoh

(Fr) Vivre ensemble

(Fr) Centre de Contact Suisses-Immigrés

(Fr) Solidarité avec la Grèce

(Fr) Solidar

(Fr) Médecins du Monde

(Fr) Amnesty International

(Fr) Destination Unknown / Fédération Terre des hommes

(Fr) Handicap International

(Fr) Solidarité Sans Frontières

(Fr) CFD

(Fr) Coordination asile.ge

(Fr) Aravoh

(Fr) Vivre ensemble

(Fr) Centre de Contact Suisses-Immigrés

(Fr) Solidarité avec la Grèce

(Fr) Solidar

Petition

2155 signatures on Change.org

Still 345 signatures needed to reach 2500.

Europe must deliver humanitarian visas to refugees


The arrival of refugees has created an unprecedented political crisis in Europe: the first countries where the refugees arrive – Italy, Greece and Hungary – are overwhelmed by the crisis. Issuing humanitarian visas and allowing refugees to arrive by plane would also permit better alignment between the countries the refugees wish to travel to and the countries that wish to admit them. This would allow refugees to be better distributed within Europe and would relieve pressure on the areas of first arrival. This would at last make it possible for a real European response to be deployed, one worthy of Europe’s political plan. One of the priority objectives of the European Union today is the fight against illegal networks of smugglers and traffickers. If refugees can arrive by plane thanks to a humanitarian visa, they cease to be dependent on smugglers, and the business would lose its reason for existence. It is the absence of a humanitarian corridor that creates the conditions for the human smuggling business. For all these reasons, we believe that humanitarian visas are a pragmatic and common sense solution that would restore safe passage so that no more refugees would die searching for protection. It is an emergency.