World Refugee Day is marked on 20th June each year, giving us an opportunity to raise awareness of the many challenges faced by people seeking protection and to highlight the valuable contribution of refugees and asylum seekers to their new host communities.
In 2015, we witnessed an unprecedented wave of migration to Europe, with over one million refugees crossing the Mediterranean and over 3,700 people having lost their lives while attempting to make the journey to safety.
The situation faced by refugees has worsened considerably in the first few months of this year and effective long-term strategies that seek to protect, rather than deter, people fleeing war and persecution are urgently required. The EU’s decision to outsource its human rights and international protection obligations under the controversial EU-Turkey deal in March 2016 is a worrying development that fails to address the causes, consequences and challenges of the crisis.
Leonie Kerins, Director of Doras Luimní, said “We cannot afford to close our eyes and turn our backs on the world’s most vulnerable in their greatest time of need. Ireland and Europe must do more to effectively address these current challenges: we need to see a long-term strategy being developed that draws on basic principles of human rights, human dignity and compassion. Our failure to offer protection and sanctuary at this critical time will haunt us and we are at real risk of losing sight of Ireland and the EU’s fundamental values.”
Read our full statement here: World Refugee Day – Press statement