Thursday, 6 March 2014 11:17 GMT

Photo: Jesper Guhle DRC

Image Caption and Rights Information

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Civil society campaign calls on EUROPE to ACT NOW

6 March 2014. Brussels. The Danish Refugee Council acting as Chair of European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) have joint over 100 partners in 34 countries in today’s launch of the Europe Act Now (www.helpsyriasrefugees.eu) calling on European leaders to protect refugees fleeing the Syrian war.

To date, just 81,000 Syrians have sought protection in the EU, Norway and Switzerland; representing only 3% of the total number of people who have fled. With a death toll of 130,000 and refugee numbers expected to escalate to 4 million by the end of 2014, this war marks one of the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time.

Atwww.helpsyriasrefugees.eu people can ‘give their voice’ to Syria’s refugees and urge Europe’s leaders to take action to:

  1. Give refugees a safe way into Europe
  2. Stop pushbacks and protect refugees arriving at Europe’s borders
  1. Reunite families torn apart by the crisis

My family is trapped in Egypt. They rarely go out for fear of being arrested. If detained, they may be forced to choose between staying in jail or going back to Syria. They need to leave Egypt but my parents are old, they can't handle the dangerous sea trip or being detained in an airport jail if they come by plane. Our only hope is to find a legal way to bring them to Europe.”said Azzam, a Syrian refugee in Belgium.

“Europe’s deliberate barriers to protection must be lifted”, said Michael Diedring, Secretary General of ECRE. “Safe and legal travel to Europe is virtually impossible for refugees due to visa restrictions, limited resettlement opportunities and complex rules that prevent families from being reunited. Those seeking safety in Europe often have no option but to put their lives in the hands of smugglers and face life-threatening journeys. A crisis of this magnitude requires Europe to Act Now”.

Give your voice

Europe Act Now - www.helpsyriasrefugees.eu allows supporters of the campaign to donate their Twitter feed and Facebook account to the refugees of the Syrian crisis. The refugees can share their experiences of fleeing the conflict and attempting to seek protection in Europe with the supporters’ followers and friends.

People can also give their voice to protect Syria’s refugees by signing the Europe Act Now petition.   

Europe Act Now – Help Syria’s Refugees will run for a period of four months, culminating on World Refugee Day, 20th June 2014.