June 20 marks the World Refugee Day and symbolically stands as a sign of solidarity towards people who have had to leave their countries. Like any day of remembrance, on the one hand we are glad that it exists and draws attention to an issue, whilst on the other hand we are disillusioned because remembrance alone is not enough.
Today, the focus should be on two things: the stories and fates of refugees & the causes of flight. Because only the latter creates the need for the former.
The Missing Migrants Project has counted over 56 thousand people reported missing or dead fleeing since 2014. At the borders with the EU, there have been reports of inhumane conditions for migrants and refugees for years. In Libya, there are reports of them being systematically tortured, abused, executed or sold. Nevertheless, only in May, a boat with almost 500 people was sent back to Libya. Moreover, obligated sea rescues are not being carried out. In April 2015, more than 1000 people died in an accident in the Mediterranean. A few days ago, people (probably hundreds - the number cannot be recorded) drowned again off the European coast.
Day after day, people, like us, try to create humane conditions for people seeking help. German policy must bear responsibility and sustainably fight the causes of flight and improve the conditions for flight. Currently, the majority of the interior ministers agreed to an asylum reform. In future, the EU wants asylum applications to be examined at the external borders in "strictly controlled reception centres". Within 6 months it will be checked whether the applicants are entitled to asylum, in case of rejection they will be sent back. We extremely regret that Germany did not manage to enforce the exemption for families with underage children.
The reform is intended to protect against illegal migration and to distribute the flow of refugees among the EU countries.
We have reason to believe that the new reform will lead to further humanitarian disasters and worsen the situation at the EU borders. So while the EU tries to protect itself, protection seekers continue to be exposed to risks and abandoned. We criticise this.
No one flees voluntarily. No one should be tortured, sold, raped or (negligently) killed while fleeing. Period.