Alliance2015 Statement on the Refugee Crisis

October 30, 2015

Worried by the streams of refugees, Alliance 2015 calls upon European governments to address root causes. 

Alliance2015 members, amongst which Hivos, work in many of those countries worst hit by the current refugee crisis, including Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Based on our understanding of the realities faced by those with whom we work, as well as our wider experience of humanitarian disasters, we call on European leaders to:

1. Scale up their efforts to address the root causes of refugee migration
The majority of people arriving to Europe’s shores are fleeing war, violence or persecution, acute need or extreme poverty. Syrians make up the largest proportion of refugees by a wide margin. Alliance2015 members call for strengthened political efforts to find a solution to the conflict in Syria.  The Syria conflict has triggered the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since World War II.  Now in its 5th year, the conflict is seeing a total of 12.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, of which approximately 7.6 million are internally displaced. Political and diplomatic tools are needed to prevent further violent conflicts and to promote peaceful solutions and economic stability.

2. Increase the support being provided to the countries of origin and their neighbouring states
Earlier this year, the UN launched its largest ever humanitarian appeal – for $7.4bn – to deal with the fallout from the Syria conflict.  That appeal remains chronically underfunded, with a current shortfall of $4.7bn as we enter the last quarter of the year. Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan have taken in 4 million refugees, and an estimated 12 million people are in need of direct assistance in Syria. Alliance2015 members call on donor governments to commit adequate funding to provide basic humanitarian services to those affected by the conflict.

3. Provide additional funding to address the crisis in Europe
Existing aid budgets must not be drawn upon in order to fund the response to the refugee crisis in Europe. Additional funding is urgently needed in Syria and across the region in order to address the needs of those left behind and those who have fled to neighboring states.  Alliance2015 members call on European leaders to ensure that it is new funding – not existing ODA – which is allocated to support those arriving into the EU so that their needs are met, their rights are respected and their dignity is upheld.

4. Develop a sustainable migration approach and facilitate integration
We need a European approach to migration policy which meets the needs of asylum seeker in a fair and swift manner, taking into account the reality of ongoing and future needs. This includes a policy on fair distribution of responsibility and burden, bearing in mind the fact that majority of Syria refugees are already being accommodated in the neighboring counties of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. 

In 2000 Hivos was one of the founders of Alliance2015, our principal strategic partnership in Europe, which is a strategic network of European secular development organisations.