“Detention Camps” for #RefugeeCrisis is not the Solution

A mother and two children at Idomeni – AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda
With many countries closing their borders, especially Macedonia the humanitarian crisis in Europe has gotten worse.  Now 12,000 refugees are being detained in a camp designed for 2,500 with no prospect of leaving.  A Greek Government Minister has visited the camp and declared it to be “as bad as a Nazi Concentration Camp.” The full story is here.

I would like to think that as a world community we are better than this.  We can do more to alleviate the human suffering and we can stop blaming the victims of civil war and ISIS for this crisis.  @CatholicRelief with whom I am associated and other organizations are doing great work, but the action by governments to close their borders has created a humanitarian disaster that rivals some of the worst living conditions imaginable.

These are real people, human beings just like you and me who have fled for their lives – into what now is a harsh and awful life.  Let’s reject the fear-mongering narrative that refugees and terrorists are one and the same.  It is simply not true.  It is time for maturity and intelligence not fear and knee-jerk reactions. The recent attacks in Paris and Brussels were not carried out by those fleeing the war through Turkey and Greece to get to Europe.

For Christians, celebrating Easter without the compassion that compels us to speak out on behalf of these refugees from violence is a betrayal of every Christian value and renders Easter meaningless.


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