The Global Refugee Crisis & How You Can Help

Photo © Spencer Wolff

Here at Blink, many of our members have been covering the global refugee crisis. With thousands of people risking their lives on the Aegean sea, and with death tolls at record highs in the Mediterranean this summer, many of us have looked on with pity and horror at this senseless loss of human life. However, the refugee’s journey does not end when they land in Italy or Greece, and the next steps on the journey can be just as perilous.

One of our members was recently arrested covering the passage of refugees across the French-Italian border for The Guardian. A stone’s throw from the glamorous French Riviera and the super-yachts of Monaco, thousands of African migrants, refugees, and unaccompanied minors have been climbing into the mountains along the Roya Valley seeking a way into France. A group of French and Italian citizens have taken it upon themselves to provide aid, housing and legal advice, helping to process asylum claims and to move unaccompanied children into State housing.

The authorities have not taken kindly to these actions, and they have militarized the valley and committed to a practice of arbitrary detention and harassment, jailing dozens of residents of the Valley for crimes as small as offering migrants a lift in their car or giving food to the hungry.

The figurehead of this group, a French farmer by the name of Cédric Herrou has put out a call for donations to help build dignified housing for the hundreds of refugees he welcomes every week before the winter sets in.

We at Blink would like to support this initiative. While the French police and military are systematically deporting unaccompanied minors and are violating international law by refusing to take legitimate asylum claims, Cédric Herrou and a band of fellow citizens have filled the gap. They have provided medical care, housing, and legal advice to thousands of individuals fleeing war-torn countries.

However, they need your help. The Roya Valley sees regularly sees snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures during the winter and the tents that currently house more than a hundred people a week are not weather-ready.

If you would like to donate to help Cédric provide housing, food, medical care and legal advice for the refugees arriving in the Roya Valley please donate by visiting the link here.

There is also a larger collective of residents of the Roya Valley called Roya Citoyenne who is seeking financial help to feed and house the thousands of incoming migrants every month. They support Cédric’s work, but also tend to refugees in Italy and throughout a wider area of France. If you would prefer to donate to a collective instead of an individual their donation link is here.

In either case, we guarantee that your funds will go to vital humanitarian needs. Cedric and Roya Citoyenne’s work is all the more vital given the French State’s begrudging implementation of its own child protection and asylum laws, its pattern and practice of arbitrary detention and intimidation of residents of the valley (and the occasional journalist), and its devastating failure to propose any durable plan to humanely manage the ever increasing migration flows.

If you would like to learn more about the situation before donating, we urge you to watch Blink Member Spencer Wolff’s excellent 22-minute documentary for The Guardian about Cédric Herrou and the refugee situation in the Roya Valley, visit The Valley Rebels.

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