COVID-19: ETUCE Statement calls on governments to ensure health, safety, and access to education of refugees and migrants in face of the crisis

28 May 2020

The COVID 19 outbreak is a public health crisis quite different than anything Europe has faced for many years. As education personnel and their trade unions grapple with the outbreak, we are supporting and informing member organisations in any way we can.

The COVID-19 crisis and the measures taken by governments to prevent the spread of the virus are hitting vulnerable groups such as refugees and migrants particularly hard. People living in the streets or in often overcrowded refugee camps, many of them children or unaccompanied minors, lack access to hygiene, health care and education. People in temporary employment contracts face income loss and health-care insecurity difficulties linked to the uncertainty in their legal status or to the reduction of employment due to quarantine measures.

Education trade unions are particularly concerned about refugees and migrants being deprived of their fundamental right to education. In times of distance learning, children and young adults in refugee camps or poor migrant households are at risk of being left further behind because they lack access to appropriate devices and online equipment.

Therefore, ETUCE today releases its Statement Education Trade Unions in Solidarity with Refugees in Times of COVID-19:

  • Calling on European governments to evacuate overcrowded refugee camps with a view to provide safe accommodation for refugees and ensure necessary quarantine and protection from COVID-19;
  • Calling on European governments and the citizens of Europe to remember the principles on which Europe and the EU in particular, were established: democracy, tolerance, human dignity, the rule of law, and solidarity;
  • Expressing support to its member organisations in their engagement and urgent appeal for solidarity-based policies and actions in their countries to ensure the full protection and safeguard of universal human rights and freedoms, notably the fundamental right to education and health.

At the occasion of today’s publication of the Statement, Susan Flocken, European Director, commented: ‘Refugees and migrants have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis. With the Statement  released today, ETUCE and its member organisations remind European governments and citizens of the European founding values such as human dignity and solidarity, and call for the protection of the basic human rights of refugees and migrants such as access to hygiene, health care and education.’

To read the ETUCE Statement Education Trade Unions in Solidarity with Refugees in Times of COVID-19, please click here.