On A Somber Note…The European Migration Crisis


I am sure most of you have been following the news as it tracks the moving tragedy that is the exodus of refugees from Syria and other unstable regions in the Middle East, towards the safe havens of Europe.

Naturally, the team at RTC Events Management has been following the situation closely, both from the personal, humanitarian, point of view, and also of course in relation to any potential impact on the event and the delegates. I have been in regular touch with several people working at the leading edge of UN humanitarian response, through contacts developed via relief aid work I have been involved in in the past, I have also spoken to management at the hotel, to city officials, and to others involved in the visitor bureau.

RTC Events Management is not a political organisation, and I do not wish to delve into the how, why, what of actions taken by various governments and other entities in the response to this crisis, but I will say just this one thing: I do not support the decisions made and actions taken by the government of Viktor Orbán, nor do I consider the response by the broader community to be adequate to address the looming crisis as winter bears down upon these people.

So, first off: There is no danger to delegates attending the event, nor is there any reason to expect disruption to the program. Those refugees still within the Budapest environs are focused around the international train hubs, or have been taken into temporary accommodation while their circumstances are considered (a euphemism, I know…). The people we are talking about are overwhelmingly peaceful (they are refugees because they are trying to ESCAPE violence), and while there have been a couple of incidences of violence, they have been very much out of the norm for this exodus. The peak of movements within central Hungary is well and truly past, with most movements now occurring through Croatia and or the border nexus between these countries. Finally, a couple of people have questioned whether the exodus can act as a shield to the movement of terrorists into the region. While no-one can truly say that this is or is not happening, it is possible. However, there is no current credible evidence of this occurring and, for those travelling into the region from elsewhere, be aware that Hungary is a transit spot for the migrants, that the goal is more northern, immigrant-friendly, countries like Germany and equally, Hungary is not a terrorism target.

Also, please don’t forget that what you see on tv, read in the papers, and absorb through other media has been filtered through the lens of attracting viewers, readers, click-throughs. This does not mean that terrible things have not been happening, they have. It does not mean it is all untrue, much of it is true. It DOES mean that much of what is good and uplifting in the responses to the migration (generally at the individual level) is often overwhelmed by that which is sensationalist. It is these things we must focus on, these things we must celebrate, encourage, support.

To that end, RTC Events Management, and the RTC Europe committee, are instituting a fund-raising appeal, for the procurement of physical supplies – blankets, clothes, shoes, food and the like – which we will deliver direct to the aid workers on the ground with the migrants. We are asking all of you to dig deep to help these people. RTC itself will make a financial contribution, putting in dollar for dollar to match the first 5,000 Euro in contributions from the RTC Community. I do hope you will find it in you to contribute to help these people, who have endured violence and repression at home, an arduous trek to freedom, and an uncertain future.

Details of how you can contribute will be available in the next few days. Thank you all for being a part of the RTC community, and for all the help you can offer to these people.

Regards, Wesley Benn

Chairman, RTC

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