Over the last three weeks our team had the opportunity to meet grassroot NGOs that provide support for people on the move, both in Calais and France, as well as at the border to Ukraine and Belarus in Poland.
The goal of the trip was to grow Europe Must Act’s network in these border regions, to collect first hand information and assess the current situation on the ground.
In Calais, the situation is still very dramatic with evictions of camps being conducted every other day.
Our team had the chance to meet with amazing people who organise all kinds of support; from distributions of cooked and dry food, tents and other non-food items, to the provision of information and mobile access to electricity and WiFi.
In Poland, the situation for people on the move and grassroots NGOs is very different.
At the Belarusian border, where our team met with people around the city of Hajnowka, the criminalization of both people on the move and of people supporting them is undeniable. A three kilometre no-go-area and a lot of police and military prevents people from coming to Europe and makes providing support for them very difficult and dangerous.
The situation in Przemyśl, a city close to the border with Ukraine, is starkly different. People who arrive at this border crossing are able to take a train or bus to the nearby reception centre, where they are provided with various kinds of support.
While Europe Must Act previously focused on Greece and the Aegean islands, the main goal of our campaign work is to include the voices of people on the move, grassroots volunteers, and activists in the public debate and policy-making process. Over the next weeks, EMA will be using its platforms to take a closer look at the situation for people on the move and grassroots in these border regions. Moreover, in reflection of Europe Must Act’s decision earlier this year, to widen its focus to border regions across all of Europe, we hope to visit and include other border regions in Europe in our campaign work moving forward.
If you would like to support our work, join our team, share our content, and consider donating to our ‘The European Alliance’ project here: https://donorbox.org/the-european-alliance-for-safe-passage-and-refugees-rights