The ECWM co-ordinates 20 organisations from 15 countries of the European Union (EU) and Switzerland. It totally rejects the draft agreement reached between the EU and Turkey on refugees. This agreement is a serious step backwards for human rights.

The countries of the EU cannot sign an agreement with Turkey which is contrary to International Law. This agreement violates International and European Conventions ratified by Member States which expressly prohibits the return of persons who are subject to persecution or victims of war.  We can easily forget that behind the increase in migration there is always the inhumanity of an unjust economic system in which profit prevails over the dignity of the human person and the common good. We cannot build a fortress Europe and refuse to welcome the stranger. The challenge remains to build a Europe of the people as well as an economic system which serves the needs of everyone and in particular the most vulnerable.

The European Council taking place on 17th & 18th March 2016 is crucial and we, the ECWM, are adamant that we do not want a European Union that may violate human rights and International Laws. We must show our representatives that many organisations and individuals do not agree with this draft agreement and we call upon all people of good will to express their rejection of this decision.

This refugee crisis is a challenge for all of Europe. How does the Christian and humanist heritage of the Continent meet this challenge and be true to the words of the Gospel “I was a stranger and you welcomed me”. The ECWM renews our commitment to work for a just and sustainable society in Europe as well as the rest of the world. We are at one with the words of Pope Francis, who declared “It is time to build together a Europe that does not focus entirely on the economy but acknowledges the sacredness of the human person”.

Finally, we remember the words that Jesus Christ left us in His Gospel “Truly, I say to you whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).