What is EMA?
We are a politically neutral, non-violent, and volunteer-run organisation, who lobbies governments for the disintegration of refugee camps in the Aegean in favour of more humane solutions.
We all remember the 2015 peak of the migrant crisis in Europe, but this crisis did not just last one news cycle: five years later it is still a very real problem.
While the rest of Europe has seemingly moved on, consumed with the likes of Brexit and the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Greek government have been building camps, with plans to make these crowded, undignified spaces a permanent feature of Europe’s shores. Instead of solving the problem, we have chosen to hide it, brushing it under the carpet and pretending it doesn’t exist. We have chosen to worsen it by further institutionalising these camps instead of treating them as what they are: a temporary solution, thereby lengthening this crisis and postponing the eventual resolution which will have to be found. But whilst Europe’s politicians have been either ignoring the problem or using it as a way of scoring political points with sympathetic voters, people in these camps are suffering.
Human life cannot thrive in these camps. They are not a healthy environment for anyone to live in, neither physically nor mentally, and they are definitely not a suitable environment for children to be growing up in. These camps are a blight on the European ideals of liberalism, hope, and acceptance, and I for one do not want to live in a world where human beings are treated like animals simply for wanting to make a better life for themselves and their families, an ideal we all aspire to.
This is where EMA comes in. We are a politically neutral, non-violent, and volunteer-run organisation, who lobbies governments for the disintegration of refugee camps in the Aegean in favour of more humane solutions. We believe that no family should have to raise their children in a camp, no individual should have their freedoms unjustly taken from them and no human should be kept with the same level of dignity and privacy as a caged animal.
Exeter Must Act is a city chapter of the parent group Europe Must Act, and there are many groups like us both across the UK and throughout Europe. We work to raise awareness of, and campaign on, this issue at a local level because we believe that this problem will not be resolved unless we work together and lobby all levels of government. Exeter may seem as far away as possible from the Aegean and the camps it houses but this is a Europe-wide problem and deserves to be treated as such.
As an organisation, we aim to…
- Immediately decongest the Aegean Islands through fair relocation across Europe.
- Replace the EU-Turkey Agreement with a fair and humane EU policy on migration.
- Advocate for dignified and legal conditions of reception across Europe.
Why should I care?
With the news cycle dominated by the enduring effects of Covid-19, it is easy to adopt an isolationist attitude and forget the tragedies of further afield. And who can blame you? Life is hard at the moment and everyone is struggling. But imagine living through the Covid-19 pandemic without a solid roof over your head. Imagine living through this time without any remnant of economic or social security, without even basic principles of freedom. And finally, imagine not knowing what your future holds or even where members of your family are. For thousands of refugees in the Aegean they need not imagine these circumstances, they are a reality.
So yes, things may be far from perfect in the UK right now, but they are nowhere near as bad as they could be. If this pandemic has taught us anything, then surely it is that our own actions, no matter how small, can make a significant difference to others, and that kindness can go a very long way.
This is a humanitarian crisis, and it’s happening right on our doorstep. So don’t ignore it. Don’t push it away and pretend that you can’t do anything about it. Helping others is one of the most valuable things we can do, and there is no time like the present.
How can I help?
There are many ways in which you can help our organisation, whether the pandemic has left you with too much time on your hands, or you’re reading this article whilst cramming for a deadline.
If you are interested in direct involvement, our chapter right here in Exeter has roles available right now, just get in contact and we can talk you through what is available.
If you do not want a commitment, but would still like to lend a hand, you can join us in a generic volunteer role and help with general organisation, or at future events. If you get in contact and tell us about your time commitments, we will find a role that works for you!
But any help would be so appreciated. If you do not have the time to get involved directly, then we would really appreciate you helping us to spread the word. Whether this is giving us a like on social media, sharing one of our posts, or signing one of our petitions, every last like, share, and signature matters.
If you would like any more information, or would like to get involved, please visit our website or contact us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Get in contact and check out our work…
Facebook: @europemustact / @exetermustact
Twitter: @EuropeMustAct / @ExeterMustAct
Instagram: @europemustact / @exetermustact