Church of Sweden

​People are dying on the border to Europe – we must act now!

Press Release   •   Aug 31, 2015 10:00 BST

Gunilla Hallonsten, acting Policy Director at the International Department of the Church of Sweden. Photo: Magnus Aronson/IKON

The Church of Sweden and the other Nordic members of ACT Alliance, a global collaboration between churches and organisations for disaster relief, development and advocacy efforts, are calling for immediate action due to the refugee situation in Europe.

“Together with ACT Alliance, the Church of Sweden recently launched humanitarian measures for refugees and migrants in Hungary. We’re planning to expand our work in the region, starting in Serbia and Greece,” says Gunilla Hallonsten, Policy Director at the International Department of the Church of Sweden.

“It is of utmost importance that refugees and migrants arriving in Europe are met with dignity, at the same time that people must be given protection in and near areas of conflict. These issues are of equal importance!”

Statement from the Nordic members of ACT:

In Europe we praise ourselves for being leaders in values such as democracy and human rights. As organisations based on Christian values, we believe that we must take action. It is time to put values into practice.

We Europeans have the resources to help, and our governments must fulfil their obligations to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

We must help those affected in Europe, both those in transit and at home. Refugees need support in accordance with the Refugees Convention, human rights and international legislation.

The increasing flow of refugees is a result of conflicts, poverty and war. The problems can only be solved by getting to the bottom of the root causes. Shutting people out is not a solution. Europe needs to work together, and the Nordic members of ACT have pledged to continue working for human rights, peace and dignity for everyone, while also securing possibilities for people to stay in their home countries.

Gunilla Hallonsten, the Church of Sweden
Bo Forsberg, Diakonia, Sweden
Anne-Marie Helland, Norwegian Church Aid
Jouni Hemberg, Finn Church Aid, Finland
Bjarni Gislason, Icelandic Church Aid
Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen, DanChurchAid, Denmark

The Church of Sweden is part of ACT Alliance, a global collaboration involving churches and organisations for disaster relief, development and advocacy work. ACT Alliance consists of around 140 member organisations with 30,000 employees and volunteers in 140 countries around the world.