YWCA Call to Action: “Don’t Stand By”
“No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”–A Somali poet
Between 220,000 -300,000 people have been killed in Syria producing over 4 million Syrian refugees worldwide. Many of these refugees come from Palestinian refugee camps like Yarmouk which has been targeted by both Assad’s soldiers and terrorist militias. Syria’s escalating war has produced refugees who have fled to Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq and now are trying to migrate to EU countries for safety. The violence has made it impossible for them to live with their refugee status.
UNRWA (United Nations Relief andWorks Agency) spokesperson Christopher Guness states: “These tragedies involving men, women and children drowning at sea stem not only from armed conflict, occupation and a lack of protection of human rights, but more fundamentally from the failure to resolve the Palestine refugee problem. At a time of rising extremism in the Middle East region, the failure of the International community to resolve the Palestinian issue takes on an added significance”.
This new Nakba needs more than our tears of compassion or cries of horror. There is a moral and legal imperative to act. There is a humanitarian crisis that must be immediately addressed by the European Union and its countries to provide safe haven but there is also an urgent need to deal with the root issue, the failure to resolve the Palestinian refugee issue and the ongoing military occupation.
The YWCA of Palestine demands that the International community do all that it can to provide legal avenues to safety for these refugees, not migrants, who are leaving their homes in desperate hope for not just a better life but life itself. As part of their legal responsibility, they need to keep their borders open and crack down on the people smugglers themselves who are exploiting those fleeing.
The YWCA of Palestine also asks you to call on the leadership in your countries to demand that this ongoing conflict be resolved which includes providing the Right of Return to all Palestinian refugees. Let us all work hard to make the land safe for all people.