Geneva, 6 January 2016 - Indifference to the plight of those fleeing conflict, violence, persecution and poverty continues to put the lives of people at risk, says the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Yesterday, the world once more woke up to the tragic news of children dying in the Mediterranean. In the past five days, at least 1,750 people have been rescued off the coast of Lesvos by Hellenic Red Cross volunteers. Since the beginning of the year more than 30 people have drowned making the journey from Turkey to Greece, including several children.
IFRC Under-Secretary General Garry Conille said: “This tragic start to 2016 shows the harrowing lessons of last year have not been learned. The death of dozens of people trying to reach Europe has been greeted by near silence. We cannot become immune to these tragedies.”
“Every day, thousands of people – babies in pushchairs, grandparents in wheelchairs, children, women and men – are risking their lives in the hope that wherever their journey ends will be safer than the home they left,” said Dr Conille.
“We must put an end to the appalling indifference that is seeing lives jeopardized and lost.”
The IFRC recalls the obligation of States to guarantee dignity and protection, and to foster tolerance and social inclusion for migrants no matter where they are from or why they are on the move. Anyone involved in these journeys – including authorities in countries of origin, transit and destination – have a responsibility to respect human dignity and to avoid any action that puts lives at risk.
Despite projections that the number of arrivals would reduce during the winter, Greece is still receiving more than 3,000 people a day. The Hellenic Red Cross has provided support to at least 188,000 people since 2015 across Kos, Samos, Chios and Lesvos through the distribution of emergency supplies, first aid activities and psychosocial support for people suffering from trauma.
The Red Cross Red Crescent has been on the frontline of the response to the crisis since it began. An estimated 69,000 volunteers have been deployed across 28 countries, reaching at least 550,000 people. The IFRC has launched emergency appeals totaling more than 70 million Swiss francs to provide life-sustaining services and assistance to meet the needs of vulnerable people and families across Europe.
The IFRC’s ‘Protect humanity - Stop indifference’ campaign calls on the public, partners and decision-makers to sign on to a call for the universal protection of migrants, without discrimination, at every stage of their journey.
For further information, please contact:
Linda Low, IFRC communications manager, Europe
Tel +36 18884507
+36 18884507 - Mobile: +36 709537704
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: linda.low Twitter: @linda_low
Nichola Jones, IFRC emergency communications delegate
Tel: +44 7715 459956
+44 7715 459956 Email: NJones@redcross.org.uk
Benoit Carpentier, IFRC team leader, public communications
+41792132413 - Email: email@example.com Twitter: @BenoistC
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 190 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.