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The EU must reclaim the moral high ground: Save the Children reaction to meeting of foreign affairs council

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Following the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday, 15 November 2021, the EU has broadened the scope of sanctions on Belarus so as “to be able to respond to the instrumentalisation of human beings carried out by the Belarus regime for political purposes”.

Save the Children remains extremely concerned about the situation at the Belarus border and urges the EU to firmly uphold the rights and dignity of thousands of people, including children, stranded at the border to prevent further suffering and loss of life.

Anita Bay, Save the Children Europe Director said:

“Today’s meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council was a failure: a failure to live up to the values that Europe purports to uphold, and a failure to treat asylum seekers and migrants with dignity. It did nothing to help the thousands of people, including children, who have been used in a geopolitical game and are now at risk of hunger, freezing conditions, and even death.”

Last week, Save the Children condemned the reported deaths of two children who died of exposure to the freezing temperatures and health complications at the border between Poland and Belarus. Anita Bay continued:

“It is unacceptable that Belarus is using migrants and children in a geopolitical conflict, but the EU must refrain from conducting inhuman and illegal practices and ignoring its responsibilities under EU and international humanitarian law.

“Save the Children expected the EU Foreign Ministers to put pressure on Poland, ensure the possibility of seeking asylum and push for NGOs’ access to support and protect children and families in need. It is shocking to see that the EU and the Member States are silent about the humanitarian crisis.”

“The EU must reclaim the moral high ground – by providing these people with aid and letting them claim asylum.”

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