This year, the number of people around the world fleeing war, torture and increasingly also the effects of the climate crisis reached a shocking new high: 110 million people are living as refugees. Behind this figure is the very real suffering and the desperation of millions of people who see no other option than to leave their homes.
Our humanitarian assistance and development cooperation is therefore crucially important in the international context. Our work abroad helps day after day to improve the circumstances of people living as refugees and to stabilise conflict zones and regions affected by the climate crisis. These resources must not fall victim to budget cuts.
Particularly following the agreement to reform the Common European Asylum System, Germany must not let up in working to improve the living conditions of those fleeing and seeking protection at our external borders. Tackling the deaths in the Mediterranean will only be possible if safe routes such as humanitarian admission programmes and the United Nations resettlement programme are strengthened.
The criminalisation of civilian maritime rescue, the shirking of responsibility and the repeated failures in state coordination of and support for rescue operations has cost many people their lives. The latest shipwreck off the Greek coast, in which it is believed that hundreds of people, including many women and children, lost their lives, shows once again how indispensable a European maritime rescue programme is.