The Conference of European Churches (CEC) has appealed to European governments and people to act now and to provide protection for refugees fleeing Syria.
"We call on European States to make concrete commitments towards assisting and protecting those who have managed to escape the devastating conflict in Syria," the CEC Governing Board said in a statement on 2 December 2013.
The CEC Board met at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva at the end of last month, under its President Anglican Bishop Christopher Hill, where it approved the statement.
The statement declares: "More than two years into the Syrian conflict, an overwhelming regional humanitarian crisis is unfolding as refugees struggle on a daily basis to access the most basic services including shelter, health, water, sanitation and primary education."
It notes that Syria’s neighbours such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Armenia receive and host large numbers of people and their resources are at breaking point.
As of October 2013, around 6 million persons have been displaced internally or have fled to neighbouring countries in search of protection. More than 2,2 million people from Syria are registered or awaiting registration in nearby countries, including North Africa.
"It is in this dire and complex situation that European countries need to urgently, decisively and effectively respond to help protect refugees fleeing Syria.
"Failing to do so could lead to already-strained neighbouring host countries turning away refugees and imposing unacceptable conditions and restrictions on those already present in these countries", says the statement.
CEC says that together with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, it will participate in the campaign calling for Access to Europe for Syrian Refugees and requests its member churches to support these activities.
* Full statement (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document): http://www.ceceurope.org/fileadmin/filer/cec/CEC_Documents/Gov_Bd_Novemb...