What would it take to persuade you to leave your home and loved ones, to make a perilous journey which could end with you crammed into the hull of a boat, suffocated in a lorry or washed up on an unknown seashore?
It’s not a decision that any of us would ever want to make. But we can do something to support those who have been forced into making that terrible choice, and reduce the chances that others might have to do the same.
Although refugee numbers in the EU have been rising , many European countries have been slow to act. Almost 400,000 people have arrived by sea into Europe so far this year, and there are around 4 million Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Yet despite the generosity of some governments, money to assist millions living in refugee camps is drying up, and money to tackle the root causes of extreme poverty is under threat.
European ministers are meeting soon to discuss the crisis. We need them to take urgent action to help refugees wherever they are, and crucially, ensure that such support doesn’t come at the expense of promised aid.
The head of the UN refugee agency has said: “Europe is facing a moment of truth. This is the time to reaffirm the values upon which it was built.”