City of Sanctuary has joined forces with other charities to endorse the first European Citizens’ Initiative to empower a #WelcomingEurope and reclaim our right to help.

The #WelcomingEurope petition is a European Citizens’ Initiative that is seeking one million signatures to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees; if the petition reaches its target, the EU Commission will be forced to respond to its demands. The specific demands include the decriminalisation of humanitarian aid for refugees and migrants – particularly pertinent in the recent discontinuation of the Aquarius vessel leaving the Mediterranean without any operating search and rescue organisations as migrants continue to take the dangerous passage.

As a wider message, the petition seeks to demonstrate that the citizens of Europe aren’t content with the current hostile stance of governments and they demand better. Like City of Sanctuary, #WelcomingEurope is trying to harness civic power to push towards a Europe of openness, hospitality and acceptance based on the fundamental belief that refugees should feel safe and welcomed. People fleeing violence should be allowed to find sanctuary and civilians who wish to offer it should be allowed to do so – these are the rights that City of Sanctuary and #WelcomingEurope fight together for.

To make your voice heard in support of solidarity with refugees and against a politics of hostility, sign the petition here

You can follow ECI Facebook page  here  and via Twitter here