Engagement With Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers in Europe

As a Global Mission Fellow with Global Ministries, I was delighted to embark on two years of mission service in Belgium, says Nicodemus Doe, from Sinoe County, Liberia (Advance #3022069). The experience is enriching my faith and exposing me to different cultures, faiths, and people and the challenges some of our brothers, sisters, and children face in the context of migration.

I am a Safe Passage Project Assistant, doing my part along with partners to witness and accompany the migrant population by advocating with and for theirs rights. The Safe Passage project is holistic in mission as a response to Europe's unprecedented influx of migrants—and the associated tragedies that have claimed the lives of thousands of men, women, and children.

Safe Passage is a project of the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) to respond to the ongoing migration and refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. Thousands have lost their lives in search of protection and security in the past years. The project connects local work in border monitoring with political advocacy for a humane asylum and migration policy.

The Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) is an ecumenical organization that serves the churches in their commitment to promote the vision of an inclusive community through advocating for an adequate policy for migrants, refugees, and minority groups at European and national levels.

Nicodemus Doe, far left, with staff of the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) at a meeting in Athens, Greece. Photo: Courtesy Nicodemus Doe.

For CCME to realize Safe Passage in practice, we must call on European governments and institutions, such as the European Commission, parliaments, and the Council of Europe, to implement the following modes of Safe Passage such as maintaining civilian search and rescue operation at sea; guaranteeing access to asylum procedures in the European Union (EU) and decent and adequate reception conditions, just to name a few.

My involvement with CCME as a GMF has motivated me to put my faith into action during and after my service. I like the work and enjoy doing it because it's helping on some level to alleviate human suffering.

Interestingly, I do not work because I know the people we are standing in solidarity with; but rather because of the whole gospel message of Matthew 25:35-40.

I have met lots of interesting people. Some are happy and some frustrated with the circumstances surrounding their daily lives. As I travelled around the region, I met people who shared my interests and common topics. I shared a meal with asylum seekers in the Netherlands and travelling to Athens, Greece, I saw people, young and old, literally camped out in reception centers. I asked myself why they should be isolated from society. I observed that regardless where they were, despite the unpleasant plight migrants and refugees face, many manage to keep the smile of hope. The support of CCME national members in both countries was visible and making a difference.

I've witnessed some of the hardships and abuses that people caught up in forced migration face on their way to Europe from both African and Middle Eastern countries but I've learned to be a good steward for creation to help make the world a better place!

Nicodemus Doe, Sinoe County, Liberia

First published in New World Outlook magazine, Summer 2017 issue.

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