Dutch refugee org, ice cream brand launch campaign for asylum seekers in Europe

Home Safe Home campaign by VluchtelingenWerk and Ben & Jerry's
Home Safe Home campaign by VluchtelingenWerk and Ben & Jerry'sPhoto: Screenshot / Ben & Jerry's

Dutch refugee organization VluchtelingenWerk and ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's are working together to try and convince European politicians to take in more vulnerable asylum seekers from shelters across the world. Today they launched a campaign titled Home Safe Home, AD reports.

"This is one of the biggest problems of this moment. We are talking about it in the Netherlands for the first time. We have young supporters and we want to activate them for this", Laura van Geel, social mission manager of Ben & Jerry's said to the newspaper. 

Annually the Netherlands takes in 500 asylum seekers outside the normal asylum procedure. These involve vulnerable people, like single mothers with children, LGBT people or people who are sick. These asylum seekers have been living in asylum camps for some time, but face risks there too, according to the campaigners. "500 is really too few, many more places are needed, 5,000 would be more logical", Annemiek Bots of VlugtelingenWerk said, according to AD. 

Brussels is working on a new EU relocation proposal for vulnerable asylum seekers this summer. That's why VluchtelingenWerk and Ben & Jerry's decided to launch their campaign now. An online petition was launched on Thursday and later this year Ben & Jerry's will present a special ice cream flavor. The campaign is also running in Great Britain, Sweden, Germany and Belgium. 

Earlier this year the UN refugee organization UNHCR also called for action. According to the organization, there are 1.2 million people in the world who urgently need to be relocated. Last year only 125 thousand places were made available worldwide. Canada and the United States accounted for most of those spots. The EU offered 15 thousand places. 

According to AD, the campaign was already met with criticism and a call for a boycott in the Great Britain. "Some customers ask why we don't just stick to making ice cream", Van Geel said to the newspaper. "But for 40 years, this company has been busy with social issues in terms of climate and civil rights, and we will not let that go."