Summit 1st session “Crossing the walls for freedom”

First session of the World summit is about the crucial refugees’ crisis in Europe.

By Magdalena Greco

The Opening Ceremony. University of Barcelona.

The kick — off of the Summit is given by Melissa Fleming, the leader of the efforts UNHCR is making all around the globe in communication. Fleming makes a deep analysis on the European Union and on the challenging it is facing today.

The point is: Europe was not ready when the refugee crisis came. Indeed, Europe only took notice that there was a refugee crisis in the world, but it was not ready to manage and to receive so many people. Nowadays the EU is progressing, but it is also affected by division. Certainly, there are Member States that are driven by fear or using this kind of politics to close their borders.

What we need is the leadership of compassion.

Indeed, there are countries, such as Germany, Austria or Sweden that are taking lots of refugees and migrants, while other countries are sitting a bit on the side. What we need is to have more political messages. Obviously the relocation system needs to start functioning whereby all the countries should share and take in.

Everyday hundreds of desperated people are coming.

Almost everyday families died attempting to cross the sea.

Young people are using their talents in order to help refugees in small ways. Europe means integration, and if integration is done properly it can be great, because we can have a rich multicultural benefit from the refugees inflood.

We need more solidarity.

Melissa Fleming. Photo UNHCR.

The second speaker is Mr. Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, head of the European Commission representative in Barcelona. In his words, the unprecedented arrival of refugees that Europe is facing, cannot be tackled without an appropriated technical and legislative apparatus. Without any doubt the European Commission is one of the biggest donor of humanitarian aid for refugees in the countries surrounding Syria, such as Jordan and Syria. However, we have to take measures to save lives in the sea. One of the first ideas that came in the mind of European Instituions was to reinforce Triton. Nevertheless the situation evolved. The big flood of refugees changed its road, passing through the Balkans, from Turkey to Greece, from Macedonia to Serbia, to Hungary and from there to the rest of Europe. So, how can we deal with this matter?

It is a European problem.

According to Mr. Espuny, the Member States should help the countries more committed, not appealing to their compassion, but because this is European law, this is what countries accepted when they decided to sign in the EU, this is our role. Nowadays, the European Commission is pretty disappointed concerning how the situation is managed by some Governments. As a consequence, it strongly and clearly encourages Member States to strenghten their efforts, in order to accelerate the procedures for accepting refugees. The European budget should be stretched to the limit, even if Member states are still in crisis, in order to face properly to this crisis.

Ferran Trradellas Espuny during his speech.

Third to have the speech, but absolutely not on an importance — based criterium, is the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Betty Williams. The Northern Ireland lady has been personally concerned in the refugee crisis, as she gave a crucial contribute to the construction of the City of Peace in Souther Italy, a city where migrants could live. What she wants to denounce is: Militarism. Militarism. Militarism. She said that we cannot keep how much governments are spending in armements. But what they should do have to change. Governments should be go:

Spending in creation, rather than spending in distruction.

Finally, the Nobel Peace Laureates are asked to give some advice to the young people, coming from the 5 Continents, who are sitting in the room.

“If you want to change the world you can do it using the techniques of non — violence. Be audacious, don’t be shy in speaking the truth. If you want to see a better world for you and for your children, let your government know that military is not going to be part of your family life, you will not agree in bombing other countries, because bombing has not democracy. Why are we creating better ways for destroying each other? You’ve got to stand up and to change the world. We have to look for a world that will be not — armed.” [Betty Williams]

Espuny points out how the motor of the European Union is diversity, and thanks to the Erasmus Program our Continent is becoming everyday more a melting point for young people coming from all the Member States. The youngest should prepare themselves, because:

“The duty is to be a different Europe, more diverse inside, but diversity does not mean worse”.

The session is closed by Abraham Keita, the 2015 winner of the International Children Peace Prize for his fight for justice, and his concern on the eradication of violence, expecially sexual violence adressed to girls. He was five years old when his father was killed in Liberia, and he decided to dedicate his life to the struggle against violence, mostly towards children who are suffering, from Syria to Afghanistan. His appeal is dramatically contemporary.

Are we still waiting for a world where children will be killed?
We should conglomerate forces to ensure that refugees will have access to basic services.
We should join our hands in order to make the world a better place, where every child, no matter who they are, if girls or boys, no matter where they come from, can live in peace.
Children are the victims and they need our assistance to live in a world peaceful and helpful”.
Abraham M. Keita.