Tag Archives: dunkirk

Shas Sheehan talks to the heroes of Calais and Dunkirk

Baroness Shas Sheehan went to Calais and Dunkirk with some supplies a few weeks ago. She is going again this week and invites you to help her get supplies together.

On her last visit, she spoke to some of those heroic volunteers who have given up months of their time to help the refugees survive the Winter. Here’s the video she made.

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Baroness Shas Sheehan writes…Moral leadership needed on refugee crisis

This refugee crisis is the biggest movement of people since WWII. It needs visionary people with big thinking to get to grips with it, because make no bones about it, it will need to be tackled and a head in the sand attitude will not make it go away. So, it is a  proud day when the leader of our party, Tim Farron, makes it a centrepiece of his keynote speech at conference and receives a standing ovation for it.

Politics is the art of the possible – but only when we have the leaders to make the possible happen.

The only western leader with the cojones to step up to the plate has been Angela Merkel. But she has been let down by other European leaders – not least our own Prime Minister, hiding behind the skirts of dysfunctional Dublin III regulations.

A little prodding behind Murdoch press headlines shows that last weekend’s elections in Germany, in spite of a spike in the far right vote, were far from a disaster for the pro-refugee German leader.

Britain and France make much of the “pull factors” – that making conditions just that little bit more humane will be a magnet. What utter rubbish. As though people flee their lovely homes, their lives, their careers, with only what they can carry – just to get the next phone upgrade. 

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Lib Dems deliver vital aid to Dunkirk Refugee Camp

Brad HS Dunkirk 1Throughout last week Baroness Shas Sheehan and I have been collecting vital items needed in the camp in Dunkirk. From a list of items approved by volunteers on the ground we asked Lib Dems and local residents to come together and purchase what they could. The list included brand new sleeping bags, tents, blankets, food, gas, warm and waterproof clothes as well as sturdy, waterproof shoes. We were overwhelmed with the response and managed to fill a van to the brim with these essential donations.

On Sunday, we drove the van across to northern France to the camp in Dunkirk. The conditions in Dunkirk are in many ways worse than in Calais. The mud is particularly problematic for the 2,500 mainly Kurdish refugees living there. Local authorities are disallowing any construction of more sturdy wooden shelters so most people live in tents. This does not offer much protection and makes the weather a real problem with high winds, cold temperatures and large rainfall, especially in the last few days. It is also the case that there are more families and children in this camp.

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Silenced Voices: The Desperate Situation in Calais and Dunkirk

Dunkirk refugee campAs a child in school, I remember learning about human failings throughout history and wondering repeatedly: how did so many people effectively neglect the problems they faced? So many years later, I still have the same question swirling around in the recesses in my mind. Last week simply brought this to the forefront of all I think about, thanks to the rude awakening that was our office’s fact-finding mission in Calais and Dunkirk. These failings of humanity to pay attention to and help fellow human beings in a humanitarian crisis are still prevalent today. What’s worse? This problem is right in our backyard. With this horrific realisation, I am left wondering once more: how do we fix it?

When we took up our posts, Lord Roberts asked us to try and address the refugee crisis which Europe was just beginning to recognise. None of us could have possibly understood the immensity of the problem when we first began research. It seemed like something in another place, another time, so distant and far removed from us that its tangibility faded to nothingness. Then, we began speaking to those people who had been working tirelessly on the ground to try and stem the seriousness before it escalated out of control. Meetings between our office and NGOs helped to uncover greater barriers to solutions than any of us could have ever imagined.

A few months later, after countless briefings, questions, and attempts to put greater pressure on Her Majesty’s Government to act, it became apparent that our office needed to explore the situation on the ground for ourselves. We arranged travel to Calais and Dunkirk with a grassroots organisation and an international non-governmental organisation, both of whom took us around the camps and provided insights from their differing perspectives.

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    I agree with John Grout. That speech by Naimh was memorable.
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