Sunday, April 30   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

Should all religious groups in your country be legal?




“Minors are embarked in boats by their parents”

“Refugees are desperate and try to go to countries where they believe Human Rights are respected”, said UNHRC spokesperson María Jesús Vega in a interview. Summer will be a very critical season.

SOURCES Protestante Digital AUTHOR Daniel Hofkamp TRANSLATOR Belén Díaz MADRID 09 JULY 2015 09:04 h GMT+1
refugees, mediterreanean Refugees reach coast after beeing rescued. / UNHCR.

Hundreds of people arrive in the Mediterranean coasts every day, especially in Greece and Italy. The Mediterranean crisis is a reality that, after analysing its figures in the first 6 months of the year, has concerned many organisations.

One of those is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC), which published a report recently explaining how Europe is going through a maritime refugee crisis of historic proportions.

Protestante Digital talked to María Jesús Vega, spokesperson of UNHRC in Spain. She explained how the organisation expects that many will risk their lives this summer to come to the European coasts.

It is urgent, she argued, that European governments start applying the plan Brussels introduced last May.


Q. Is the number of people coming to Europe these months significant?

A. The numbers have multiplied exponentially. We have not seen those numbers in years. Last year, 219.000 people arrived in Europe. In the first six month of this year, we have received 137.000, mainly in Greece and Italy.

Now, we are concerned to see ehat is the strongest route now. Many go from Turkey to Greece, and from there to Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary,many are arriving lately through this route.

I am sure this summer, until September or October, we will see a rise in the people who embark in these deadly journeys. Last year, around 3,500 died, and this year there are more than 1,800 already.


Coffins in Lampedusa. / UNHCR - Francesco Malavolta

The majority flee from persecution. They are refugees, looking for safe countries that they cannot reach by legal ways, because all the doors have been closed for them. They have called the consulates, they have gone to embassies to try to get visas, but nobody has received them.

They are desperate and try to go to countries where they believe Human rights are respected. Although many are discouraged when they arrive in a different place, they still have the idea of a safe new beginning.


Q. Which is the profile of the people arriving to European coasts?

A. They mainly come from Afghanistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, and Iraq, usually by boat, and especially to Greece and Italy. They come from countries in conflict, where the human rights are constantly violated, and they suffer persecution.

They have gone through thousands of kilometres, after living in hell, and very often they have to run a steeplechase to reach their goals.

Among them, there are children, women, old people, and minors without their parents. Some are embarked in the boat by their parents, who couldn’t pay the mafia for the whole family, and they are more exposed to be exploited.

There are all kind of people, from different religious and ethnic backgrounds.  All have in common the desire of living out of the bombs and the persecution, and all of them say they want to come to Europe.

But when they arrive, for instance, in Greece, they realise that living conditions there are very hard. They sleep outside. This is why we have reinforced our activity on the Greek islands, with tents and humanitarian help packages.


Refugees route. / HRW - UNHCR

Some try to go the interior of the country, and because the police does not have enough capacity to stop them all, many are entering the cities by ferry.


Q. What political response can Europe give to all of this?

A. It is a difficult situation. The EU should respond as a whole. It is not a problem of Greece or Italy, but everybody´s problem. The Migration Agenda presented in May, must be taken into account by the countries, to carry out policies which reinforce people´s security.


Q. But that document has been criticised by many countries. Is there a lack of political will to face this crisis?

A. This is controversial. It is sad to see that they do not agree on such small quotas, because we are talking about 20,000 of settlement and 40,000 of resettlement. For those who are in Greece and Italy, who need international protection. They are debating about the lives of people who are completely defencelessness.

The 86 per cent of the refugees are in countries which border with countries in conflict. Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are the ones that have admitted the 96 per cent: 4 million of Syrian refuges.

This collapse, caused because the international aid has not been enough and some have been waiting 3 years as refugees, has forced many to continue their escape. They cannot live like that and they do not have any security.


Kids playing in a tent in Italy. / UNHCR - Fabio Bucciarelli

The EU is not responding as it should. In 2014, there have been 6.000 petitions of asylum in Spain, 170.000 in Germany, 70.000 in Sweden, and 60.000 in France and Italy.

But we should put those figures in its context. It is a refugee crisis, and that is the way it should be tackled. The EU countries have the moral, political and legal obligation of protect those who flee form persecution, because they signed the 1951 Refugee Convention. 




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - “Minors are embarked in boats by their parents”
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

Students in Europe: “We are present” Students in Europe: “We are present”

A summary video of the IFES Europe conference which brought together 1,700 students from many countries in Aschaffenburg (Germany) to reflect on God's mission in society.

Is the Christian faith just a crutch for weak people? Is the Christian faith just a crutch for weak people?

Author Michael Ots responds to some of the objections of sceptics. 

What does the story of Job teach us about suffering? What does the story of Job teach us about suffering?

By Jelena Sivulka, psychologist and Director of Hana's Hope.

Proverbs 31 Proverbs 31

A powerful video recites Proverbs 31:10-31, from the Bible. Produced by World Relief. 

You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.