LibLink: Rabina Khan on the treatment of migrants

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Cllr Rabina Khan is written in The Independent under the headline: ‘The treatment of migrants crossing the Channel is plain wrong and against British values.’ Rabina is a councillor in Tower Hamlets and Special Advisor to Lib Dem peers.

She writes:

Home secretary Priti Patel tells us the UK government is committed to “shutting down” routes used by migrants crossing the Channel to the south coast and disassembling the criminal gangs “making fortunes” enabling the illegal crossings to take place.

And whose fault is it anyway? Well, the French of course – as far as the government is concerned. If the French stopped the migrants putting to sea on their side of the Channel, our brave Border Force officers would not have to be dragging them out of their deflating dinghy on English soil.

Does anyone truly believe this will stop desperate people crossing dangerous waters in search of sanctuary and safety? It will not. The government often speaks of its admiration for the Australian points system for refugees. The way we treat these sad souls arriving from war zones, refugee camps and the deserts of North Africa needs no rating – it is plain wrong.

Rabina continues:

One thing that is easily forgotten is that the people risk their lives and the lives of their children to cross the 20-plus miles from the French coast to the south coast because they want to reach England. Why England? Often because they have families here, they speak English and across the world, Britain has in the past always had a reputation for fair play and justice. The loss of that reputation in the post-Brexit scramble for some new relevance in the world already seems to be happening.

As the daughter of immigrant parents, I fear that Britain’s proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need will not be upheld. If that is lost, we lose a core part of what it means to be British.

She concludes:

Albert Einstein, the most famous refugee and humanitarian, said: “A bundle of belongings is not the only the thing a refugee brings to his new country.”

Migrants bring ambition, hope, energy. They work hard and they are net contributors to the economy.

You can read the full article here.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Mark Seaman 13th Aug '20 - 1:44pm

    ‘The way we treat these sad souls arriving from war zones, refugee camps and the deserts of North Africa needs no rating – it is plain wrong.’ I’m sorry, but NONE of these individuals are arriving from those locations, they are coming from France… the popular tourist destination, 1st world country and all that. I will not at this moment dwell a great deal on the claim that there is a net economic benefit from migrants, just to point out that several major studies do NOT find that to be the case.

  • James Ellis 13th Aug '20 - 2:18pm

    Mark Seaman. I think your assessment of the situation, is close to being 100% correct. Well said Mark.

  • I have asked this before and never got a satisfactory answer. I am sure that all connected with progressive politics will sympathise with the plight of such desperate people but what is the answer? What should be the radical, Liberal reply? If it is to welcome these people and not turn them away then why not go further and completely open the borders to desperate people across the globe? I don’t know what the answer is. Anybody tell me?

  • James Belchamber 13th Aug '20 - 4:36pm

    This comment section, as well as the lack of comments from certain “I’m not racist, but” regulars, says volumes.

    @David we welcome them. There’s nothing radical about it – just Liberal. We welcome them.

  • James. With respect that was not my point or question. If we are to welcome these people why not go the whole way and have complete open access? I am sure that there would be millions wanting to come. So why not welcome them? Where does a Liberal draw the line? Should we be drawing a line?

  • Steve Trevethan 13th Aug '20 - 7:04pm

    Might it help us to attempt to address a grim situation if we were to differentiate between refugees/migrants?
    Causation, country of origin and wealth might be a start.
    Might refugees/migrants escaping the slave markets in Libya, which we helped to wreck, be considered to be significantly different from oligarch Russian refugees?
    Migrants from Iraq, Yemen?
    Might a change of foreign policy reduce this awful problem?
    Might we also differentiate between “British Values”?
    Might our presented values have significant differences from the actual used values?
    Might our “values” be affected by who is being dealt with/”valued”?

  • James Belchamber 13th Aug '20 - 7:15pm

    @David as Liberals we may want to put in place monitoring and controls to ensure that we don’t see net immigration rise to a point where it negatively affects the freedom of everyone overall, but the reality is that we’ve never hit that point.

    Instead, we just have disingenuous debate from people like the two idiots above you, pushing false narratives and specious arguments which are instead rooted in racism and preying on ignorance.

    We can just welcome them.

  • Mark Seaman

    ’ I’m sorry, but NONE of these individuals are arriving from those locations, they are coming from France… the popular tourist destination, ‘

    Spot on, these are economic migrants,despite some people pretending otherwise.

  • The reality is that none of the migrants are French. If they were French then they would catch the Eurostar, or get a ferry. This would be a lot more comfortable and by the accounts I have read a lot cheaper. Many speak English and have families in England. Whether they speak French I do not know. However when the publicity about the refugees who were being welcomed into German I watched a lot of news reports on German television. A lot of refugees were interviewed. For most they were interviewed in English. I assume that this was because they did not speak German.
    As far as the claim by Mark Seaman is concerned about there being several major studies perhaps he would like to cite as that would add something to the debate.

  • suzanne fletcher 14th Aug '20 - 9:37am

    Well written article @Rabina Khan. It adds to the many intelligent and thoughtful articles comments being made on the issue, among negative populism.
    Liberal Democrat for Seekers of Sanctuary Council member Bradley Hillier Smith wrote in the Independent too, “The UK has a moral responsibility to protect refugees making the dangerous journey across the channel” here
    yesterday there was the LDV article “Refugees are not our enemy, thoughts on Priti Patel remarks”, by Clementine Leaver
    Our chair Clive Sneddon worte “On treating people properly” By Clive Sneddon worth reading.
    A real build up of pressure for positive action, working with France, and having compassion on those who have made a positive decision to need to come here to claim asylum, and like others before them will make a positive contribution in the ways they can to our society.

  • James Belchamber 14th Aug '20 - 12:11pm

    The galling thing is that these people have overcome terrible odds and put huge amounts of effort into getting here. Why on earth wouldn’t we want those people to be British citizens? They’ve done more to secure human rights for themselves and their families than I ever have needed to, or am likely to ever need to. These people could contribute to making Britain much Greater, if we let them.

    You know, even if you put aside all the “we should help people in need of help” stuff.

    I think people looking at this and thinking “dirty scavengers” instead of “impressive, motivated individuals” really need to introspect on why that is, and why people think it’s driven by racism.

  • James “The galling thing is that these people have overcome terrible odds and put huge amounts of effort into getting here”
    You are right I am sure; but that means we are taking those with the money and good enough health to be able to make the journey, rather than those most in need. Doesn’t seem very liberal to me.
    I think you are also unnecessarily dismissive of people’s genuine concerns.

  • Philip Moss 14th Aug '20 - 1:25pm

    Such a difficult situation.How can we allow anyone to make their home here when our own are experiencing such dreadful conditions? Do not forget we need to make room for 3 Million Hong Kongers!! Surely the only way is to improve conditions in all countries to avoid this mass migration. But how, we did not ,could not ,manage to produce a fair and free Palestine, but allowed Israel to be formed with no regard to the existing population.
    I am aware that it was a form of reparation to people of the Jewish faith who suffered
    appalling atrocities, but what right did we have to give away land elsewhere to satisfy the need to support people of the Jewish faith.?
    We are of course over populated, how do we persuade people that it will be better if not so many children are born, how does one explain that? How do we achieve that?
    I certainly do not know the answer, does anyone out there know it?

  • Sue Sutherland 14th Aug '20 - 1:41pm

    I used to feel proud that so many people wanted to come and live in my country. Now I feel sad for them because they don’t realise what we have become.

  • Phillip Moss
    The British in fact withdrew in 1948 with the end of Mandate Palestine without leaving a government in place. The year before the UN adopted a plan to divide the territory.

  • When the day comes that there are no migrants, this government will probably congratulate itself, not realising that the reason no-one is coming is that there are more favourable countries to make their home.

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