CARE has coordinated an open letter to EU heads of state calling for a new approach that puts its commitments to human rights and refugee protection at the heart of EU migration and development policy. Activists at the Melissa centre also recorded a video testimonial by Marzia, which I share here. Our hope is that European citizens and politicians might listen to these voices, and that over time, this might result in a more humane European policy on migration.
Aged 15 and with only two years’ formal education in her whole life, Marzia returned to the Melissa centre the next day with a hand-written statement she wanted somehow conveyed to European political leaders. In Marzia’s own words:
It’s true, I am not Syrian, but do I not have a right to live? Is the blood of others different from the blood of an Afghan? No, people of the world, an Afghan also bleeds red. But unfortunately, today the European Union discriminates against us. They have recognised difference between peoples, have determined that others are worthy of their humanity, and have lowered the value of an Afghan life. Politics determines who is offered a safe place to go, not their needs.
The EU relocation scheme gives privileged status to some nationalities, as only applicants for whose nationality the average recognition rate of international protection at the EU level is above 75% are eligible. Afghans, who currently have a 59% recognition rate, and Iraqis, who currently have a 73% rate, are therefore not eligible even though they make up about 25% and 15% respectively of the refugee population in Greece.