York Amnesty International Group share concerns for refugees in the English Channel.
Amnesty York’s installation of the sea with a flotilla of origami boats (folded by Amnesty York, York for Europe and RAY) was displayed in the Minster’s South Piazza by the Roman column on Saturday October 23rd. This was in recognition of the thousands of people who try to cross the Mediterranean each year.
The display was the focus of many passers-by throughout the day. It was also an opportunity to make new Amnesty friends and meet up with established York group members. The Revd Canon Michael Smith joined us to express his support and undertook to remember those who perish in this way at evensong at the Minster.
Of those fleeing their homelands, some seek asylum, some flee poverty. This year, more than 700 (and counting) have drowned.
The stream of people will not stop until the world works together to solve the problems which send them on their journey. In the meantime, Amnesty International is pressing for:
— the creation of safe and legal routes to Europe for asylum-seekers (to put an end to people smuggling) along with a fair asylum assessment procedure.
- the end of the practice by FRONTEX, the EU border force, in cooperation with the Libyan coastguard of forcing people back to holding camps in Libya where they are forgotten, ill-treated and die.
- the end of prosecutions of people and organisations such as Médecins sans Frontières and Save The Children International for saving lives at sea (as is current, for example, in Italy).
* NB There are about 26 million refugees worldwide. In 2020, the UK had 35,770 asylum applications.
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