With governments across the continent abdicating responsibility this is an ethical catastrophe of historic proportions.
n 1938 representatives from 32 western states gathered in the pretty resort town of Evian southern France.
Evian is now famous for its water but back then the delegates had something else on their minds.
They were there to discuss whether to admit a growing number of Jewish refugees – fleeing persecution in Germany and Austria.
On Monday I was reminded of the Evian conference when British MPs voted against welcoming just 600 child refugees a year over the next half-decade.
The two moments are not exactly comparable.
History doesn’t necessarily repeat itself.
But it does echo and it does remind us of the consequences of ethical failure.
Looking back at their inaction at Evian delegates could claim they were unaware of what was to come.
In 2016 we no longer have that excuse.