On 6 March 2017, something big is going to happen in Brussels. Hundreds of people will gather for a car rally around a Brussels roundabout, at the heart of the EU, to show EU leaders just how serious they are about welcoming refugees.
It’s been more than a year since EU leaders promised to relocate some of the tens of thousands of asylum-seekers trapped in Greece, but so far their pledges remain largely unfulfilled. Meanwhile, many of these men, women and children are languishing in inhumane conditions on the doorstep of Europe, the very place they came to seek refuge.
This is not the kind of Europe we want to live in; we can do better.
So hundreds of people are driving to Brussels, offering their own cars to bring refugees to their countries, if that’s what it takes to make it happen.
Ordinary people are again showing the solidarity that EU leaders are lacking and showing how serious they are about welcoming refugees.Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International
European leaders have, so far, failed to live up to their promises to move refugees from Greece to their own countries. Now, people across Europe are showing them that they are willing to take matters into their own hands to welcome refugees.
The car rally
Let’s Bring them Here is a grassroots initiative, supported by Amnesty International, which was started by a small group of European citizens who could no longer ignore the plight of refugees in Greece.
It started last year as a car parade in the Netherlands, when people drove more than 350 cars to The Hague to offer themselves as ‘official drivers’ to help out with the relocation.
Following the success of this initiative, on 6 March 2017 drivers from all over Europe will join together in front of the Council of the European Union to offer themselves as chauffeurs to help relocate the refugees stuck in Greece.
This is not just a symbolic gesture; it is an impassioned demand to European leaders from their own citizens to welcome refugees, which they will not be able to ignore.
The Yezidi sisterhood’s story
These Yezidi women – Kurtey, Karmey, Noorey, Beshy and Bahar – have been living together in Greece for more than a year. They were afraid when they lived in the camps so they formed a ‘protection circle’ to look after each other.
When they fled the clutches of the so-called Islamic State, which swept through northern Iraq two years ago, they put their faith in Europe to protect them.
We crossed the sea because we know there is humanity here.Kurtey
They travelled together, placed in groups by the smugglers. Bahar has three daughters she hasn’t seen for three years but hopes to rejoin them in Germany. Noorey’s brother and son are in Iraq, as they didn’t have money to make the journey.
The women say there is insufficient medical care in Greece. They have an interpreter but it is a different Kurdish dialect, so they don’t understand everything. But what troubles them most is the lack of education for their children.
“I am longing for a school for all these children.” – Kurtey
Relocations pledged by Europe
Farhad is a 20 year old technology whizz who hopes to study the subject in Switzerland, where he has family.
But he has been stuck in Ritsona camp in northern Greece for 11 months, after fleeing the war in Syria with his mother and two sisters.
Farhad has had to say goodbye to his life in Aleppo, a place now “finished”, according to him, by the bombs and arrival of ISIS. He wants to forge a new, safe life in Europe:
“I’m here because my country is at war. I’m a war refugee…I’m here to have a new life because in Syria there is no safe place…”
Thanks so much to European people that are helping us.Farhad
Can’t make it? Take part online!
If you can’t make it to Brussels to take part on the rally, you can still be part of it by showing your support online.
Share a number plate selfie
Simply snap a picture of yourself with your car number plate and post it on your social channels using the hashtag #RefugeePromise
Tag your own government or leader to show them you want to welcome refugees.
Join the Facebook event
Join the Facebook event page to show solidarity with the drivers and keep up to date with their news
The more people who join, the greater the impact on EU leaders can be!
Roxani was pregnant when she fled Syria, arriving in Greece in February last year. Her baby girl was born by caesarean section in July, a frightening experience while living in terrible conditions in a refugee camp:
“When I gave birth I received the worst treatment…the stitches still hurt me…. I stay 4 days at the hospital and then came back to the camp with the baby.”
A year after arriving, Roxani is still waiting for relocation with her husband’s family. Her own mother, father and siblings are all in Norway. But it is a nervous wait for her, as her baby is unwell:
“My baby cannot eat, she vomits all the time…”
Big things happen when we join together
If, like us, you are appalled at how Europe is treating refugees, join us and let’s deliver a message our leaders won’t be able to ignore.Rikko Voorberg, co founder, Let’s Bring Them Here
Be part of this grassroots movement by registering to join us in Brussels, or simply by showing your support online.
It’s time European governments lived up to their commitments. Let’s show them we mean business.