By Vito Manzari from Martina Franca (TA), Italy (Immigrati Lampedusa) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commonslogo university Tartu

The joint workshop organised by the COST Action on Disaster Bioethics and the Centre for Ethics (University of Tartu, Estonia) aims to map the ethical, social and political dimensions of the current refugee crisis in Europe and link these to the Disaster Bioethics overall focus on ethical decision-making in disaster situations. The justification for the workshop lies in the fact that COST brings together EU scholars in ethics and disaster response from almost all EU countries. As of yet there has been no consistent EU response to the fact that regularly thousands of refugees are arriving at the shores of Europe and that some die on their way. How does the refugee crisis compare conceptually to the expertise we have on other disaster settings? What guidance do the theoretical approaches give us in the situation when the crisis does not qualify as "sudden onset" but has become a regular occurrence?
What does EU mean in this context when there is no common strategy to deal with the problem? Or to ask even more personally - what are the responsibilities of the professionals (ethicists, disaster medicine specialists and others) in the COST action? How can we, from an ethical standpoint frame the dilemmas and dissect the shortcomings in responding to the crisis? It is time for EU scholars with expertise in both ethics and disaster response to come together and suggests ways forward for EU in responding to this crisis that is likely to continue and most probably worsen over time.

The more specific foci of the workshop include:

  • European public discourses on the refugees
  • Ethical dimensions of the current crisis
  • The role of professional ethics and disaster response in the crisis – from charity to duty and beyond
  • Mapping of the national political views on the crisis and the response
  • Refugees in Europe – a global justice view
  • Comparative analysis from disaster medicine – similarities, differences, challenges
  • Historical and economic context of the refugee crisis

The workshop will take place in Tartu, Estonia on February 13-14, 2014.
Abstracts are invited for workshop presentations addressing any of the above themes. Abstracts may be submitted by those who are not Action members, so please distribute this to others working in this area. Deadline for abstracts is January 5th, 2014. Submit abstracts (up to 500 words) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COST Action IS1201 will cover the travel and accommodation expenses of up to 10 participants in the workshop with priority given to those giving presentations. Reimbursement is available to Action members only. To join, see

General questions or comments can be addressed to Kadri Simm at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Vito Manzari from Martina Franca (TA), Italy (Immigrati Lampedusa) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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