“I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.”
Evangelicals’ voice in The Refugee Campaign
A year and a half ago, EEA members asked the EEA to spearhead the membership’s pan-European response to the asylum crisis together, including in the realm of public policy. Five months ago, our team identified priority topics, including: how we reform the rules on asylum (aka Dublin regulation), the EU readmission agreements with other countries (called EU compacts), religious freedom, and unaccompanied minors. Here is an update about the EEA’s advocacy efforts to influence more biblical welcoming policies and responses to the asylum crisis.
Meeting with officials in Brussels + political conference end of May
At the Brussels office, Coralie and Christel are going to the European Parliament regularly about these issues and meeting officials.
Here’s just one example of our work. We have tried to understand better the way politicians speak about refugee issues. We went to the European Parliament on 24 January and shared our experiences on Twitter during the debate, communicating to our social media audience and connecting with a famous French MEP on the topic.
We are planning an event in the European Parliament at the end of May that will intend to raise awareness about people under pressure for their faith in refugee camps, and offer policy recommendations to the European Institutions in Brussels.
These exchanges have been very positive so far and we hope they will lead to a closer cooperation in changing the European Commission’s discourse and philosophy on migration. To just get an idea of how urgent and relevant this is, let us zoom in on the issue of the EU “Compacts.”
A looming danger: the EU “Compacts”
Very discreetly, the European Union and other countries like Norway or Switzerland are working together and radically changing their philosophy of dealing with migration and partnerships with other countries—and that’s dangerous for human rights.
EU Compacts seek to reach bundles of large-scale agreements with third countries. In essence, Europe says to other countries: ‘We will commit to positive development, economic, cultural and educational measures and favours to your country. You, in exchange, keep migrants and asylum seekers in your country.’ The main goal remains to take back as many migrants as possible.
But that’s a problem: about 70% of the countries prioritised by the EU for future Compacts are known for fostering high to extreme levels of persecution against Christians. This means that we would be sending back refugees into danger, including people who have turned to Christ and will face severe persecution and no protection if they return.
There is a lot you, national Evangelical Alliances, can do to challenge the Compacts, as some decisions will be taken in your nation or Parliament. If you are willing to help, please contact us as soon as possible (email Coralie Diebold at [email protected]).
If you’re curious about advocacy, or would like to get engaged on one or several issues related to migration, please write to [email protected]