Although sea rescue operations are a humanitarian and governmental responsibility, the official European missions have practically come to a standstill. This is why private organizations have taken on this responsibility. The need is great: according to the UNHCR, of the more than 90,000 boat refugees in the Mediterranean last year, 1300 people died.
«The fact that people are dying before our eyes is unacceptable,» said Gottfried Locher, President of the Protestant Church in Switzerland. We cannot stand by and watch these human tragedies without taking action: «People in search of a peaceful future are drowning right outside the gates of Europe. Every day. Let us help save lives – in God’s name.»
The Council of the PCS supports the alliance «United4Rescue» – Saving People Together!
In this spirit, the Council endorses state and civilian sea rescue operations. It has decided to support the «United4Rescue» alliance, which was co-founded by the Evangelical Church in Germany EKD. The aim of the alliance is to enable civilian sea rescue operations and – through this decisive step – to close the gap created by the real lack of state-sponsored sea rescue operations. The PCS Council expressly supports the four aims and demands of the alliance: the right to sea rescue, no criminalization of sea rescue operations, fair asylum procedures and safe havens. The alliance is also supported by the Presidium of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference SBK.
Emergency aid for refugees arriving in Europe
In addition to sea rescue, the PCS is also committed to refugees who have arrived in Europe: the inhumane conditions in completely overcrowded reception centers at Europe’s external borders call for a direct humanitarian response. In order to provide emergency aid, the PCS will support refugee projects of the Reformed churches in Greece. A symbolic financial contribution will also be made to the alliance «United4Rescue» – Saving People Together!