European refugee crisis
17 August 2015
The increase in the number of migrants and refugees into Europe is a reminder that governments must do more to address the root causes of conflicts around the world.
Please join us in praying for migrants and refugees facing exploitation around the world
Since the start of 2015, more than 200,000 people have arrived in Europe. More than 60 per cent originate from countries affected by conflict such as Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. Many are now living in poor conditions, with European governments struggling to provide adequate support.
CAFOD believes that in order to address this crisis, governments around the world must do more to address the root causes of conflicts like the war in Syria, which has forced a staggering 11.6 million people from their homes.
Anthony Neal, CAFOD Humanitarian Policy Analyst, said: “One in three people making the journey to Europe have fled the conflict in Syria, yet this accounts for only a small minority of Syrians who have been made homeless by the war.
“Lebanon, a country one hundred times smaller than the EU, currently accommodates 1.2 million Syrian refugees. That’s over 50 times as many refugees as EU ministers have agreed to resettle in the future.
“The war in Syria is in its fifth year. While the UK has led the world in its humanitarian aid contributions, our help cannot end with money. Without a peaceful resolution to the conflict through a political and inclusive negotiated agreement, the number of Syrians attempting to flee the country will continue to rise.”
Responding to the Syria crisis
Thanks to your support, our Church partners in Syria are providing food, medical aid and relief supplies to thousands of people whose lives have been torn apart from the war. Our partners in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey are also supporting Syrian refugees with food, medical support, clothes and safe places to stay. Find out more
The migrant crisis in Europe
Our sister agencies in the Caritas network are playing a significant role in providing support to newly arrived migrants and refugees in Europe. For example:
In France: Secours Catholique (Caritas France) are providing food, blankets, clothes and hygiene items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste to migrants and refugees in Calais, and have also been lobbying the Mayor of Calais and the French Home Secretary to do more to help.
In Italy: Local diocesan teams from Caritas Italy meet migrants and refugees as they arrive in ports in Sicily, providing them with water, warm clothes, blankets and food. Caritas Italy provides around 6,000 beds for migrants and refugees, as well as food, clothing, Italian lessons, training, legal advice and psychological and medical support. It also runs centres for child migrants and refugees throughout the country.
In Greece: Caritas Greece runs a refugee centre in Athens, where there is a soup kitchen and where migrants and refugees can seek supplies, language classes, and psychological and legal help. A programme will be launched in September to give support to migrants on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Kos.
Within the European Union: CAFOD is a member of Caritas Europa, which lobbies the European Union about the treatment of migrants and refugees.
Read our refugee crisis Q&A
Please join us in praying for refugees facing exploitation around the world