Refugees' organisations deserve a voice in Brussels

15 October 2009

Refugees' organisations deserve a voice in Brussels

To prevent the European Council on Refugees in Europe (ECRE) being deprived of funds, SP Member of the European Parliament has fired off an urgent letter to the European Commission. The Commission's decision to deny ECRE funds is described as 'incomprehensible' by De Jong, given that the umbrella group offers a voice to all of Europe's refugees' organisations. In the European Union the human rights of refugees are already under pressure, a situation which can only grow worse should ECRE's voice be silenced.

Dennis de JongECRE is the European umbrella group for refugees' organisations, including Dutch association 'Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland' (Refugee Work Netherlands). The umbrella body is one of the most important points of contact between the European Union institutions and refugees. According to De Jong: ´ECRE is badly needed. Overcrowded reception centres, the forced return of refugees to Libya and procedures in conflict with the most basic human rights, all of these things are in evidence. At the same time the Commission is preparing a long list of proposals for a European asylum policy. This is precisely why it's absolutely necessary that refugees' organisations at European level retain a say in what's going on. It's absolutely crazy that the Commission is spending millions on defence research but can't find any money to support ECRE, the voice of the refugee."

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