The most persecuted peoples on our earth were taking to ‘floating coffins’ to flee violence and seek sanctuary for their families. But instead of responding with humanity, our governments closed their doors, letting them starve and drown at sea.
Burma is driving the Rohingya out, and thousands of families were drifting helplessly at sea, forced to drink their own urine because Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia had turned them away. Syrians and Africans risked drowning every week off the coast of Southern Europe, braving the terrifying crossing as their last hope to escape torture, hunger, and traffickers.
We are facing the biggest refugees crisis since World War II, but so far governments have let them die in a climate of rising xenophobia. Now it has reached a crisis, and our community has a unique chance to jam the culture of fear with a wave of compassion.
If we each chip in a small amount now, we’ll help fund rescue operations at sea; build an Avaaz refugee team to assist those missions and resettlement, and create effective lobby cells to get leaders to open up borders; and launch ads to counter the racism.
Together we can help rescue refugees, and rescue our shared humanity.
Pledge to urgently launch the Avaaz refugee campaign — Avaaz will only process your donations if we raise enough to start saving lives: YES, I’LL PLEDGE $5, enough for a meal pack for a rescued child
As of May 2015, The UK government had only allowed in 143 Syrians out of the 4 million refugees! In response, over 1,000 Avaazers joined forces to challenge this disgraceful policy by offering to help refugees resettle, and calling on local councils to give homes to 50 Syrian refugees each. 4 councils had agreed and with our pressure, we hope many more will too.
But this isn’t just a UK and Syria problem. It is a crisis of humanity when our planet’s most vulnerable are treated as criminals and left to die. Here’s a five point plan of the most critical actions Avaaz could take if we raise enough together:
- Support organizations that are bravely rescuing the refugees at sea.
- Launch Flotillas for Humanity with more private boats to assist rescue operations.
- Build an Avaaz refugee team to lobby governments, the EU and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to push for effective search and rescue operations, and increased numbers of refugee places.
- Support local groups in Europe and South East Asia to provide assistance to refugees arriving in reception centres, and into communities.
- Run hard hitting billboards and newspaper ads to counter the culture of xenophobia.
30 thousand refugees could drown in the Mediterranean this year. These families are fleeing terror and misery, and their choice to board a boat may be the only choice they have. Let’s join forces to stop these tragedies at sea.
Supplemental: Myanmar Muslim migrants abandoned at sea have been ‘drinking their own urine’ to survive (The Independent UK)
Syria Refugee Regional Response (UNHCR)
Mediterranean migrants: Details emerge of deadly capsize (BBC)
Lost at sea, unwanted: The plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya ‘boat people’ (CNN)
Stranded Rohingya migrants say: ‘We’re dying on board’ (Al Jazeera)