Tag Archives: migrants

International Migrants Day

In no particular order, I am proud to call myself:

  • Immigrant
  • Migrant
  • Polish
  • European national
  • Global citizen
  • Citizen of the world
  • Resident of Welwyn Garden City

Each year, on the 18th December, we celebrate the International Migrants Day. A day like many others. However, it is a day which gives us an opportunity to recognise our contribution, reflect on our achievements and celebrate our uniqueness.

The International Migrants Day is a day when we can be truly proud of our own heritage, culture, upbringing, religious or ethnic background. Our faith affiliation, colour of our skin or country of our origin are only part of our story. It is our personal experiences and journey through life, which can help us to become better human beings, and which make us who we are.

We all “move around” for a number of different reasons; to better our lives, seek opportunities to work or study, or flee war of prosecution. We enhance our communities. We enrich our neighbourhoods. Life is at times challenging, hard and demanding. However, it has also plenty of happy and fulfilling moments. I believe that migration is strongly embedded in our DNA. Let’s not forget that we all have layers of identify and being a migrant is only one of them.

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

Johnson twitters while migrants drown in the Channel

How did it come this? Tens of migrants drowning in the Channel. There is a sense of inhumanity about current events. A sense of unreality. A sense that the horrors of humanity at its worst is lapping up on the shores of the Channel. Alive. But often dead.

There is a sense of unreality about our government’s response. And that of the French leadership.

This is people’s lives. People escaping the horrors of conflict and political suppression. People who want their children to go to school. People who want to set up thriving businesses. People who want to pay their way.

Instead, some of them drown. Their dreams of a better life destroyed by exploitation of modern day smugglers. Not smuggling contraband but smuggling people. There are many echoes of this from our colonial past but this a current emergency, not something you can look up in the index of a history book.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

We have a moral duty to welcome people fleeing to Europe

I’m catching up on telly. Last night I watched the first episode of Simon Reeve’s Greece series. It was a corker. You can see it on BBC iPlayer for a further 6 days.

I’m quite a fan of Simon Reeve. He’s evolved from being a sort of back-packing TV reporter into an intelligent and compassionate observer of the world. His programmes are part-light travelogue, part-incisive documentary.

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Migrants’ benefits debate is a proxy channel for xenophobia in some quarters

“EU referendum: David Cameron wins Theresa May’s backing” – reads the Guardian headline this morning.

Hello? Theresa May is the Home Secretary! It is incredible that her backing for Cameron on this is presented as some sort of surprise. What the Prime Minister does should automatically have the backing of the whole cabinet. Are we saying that there are cabinet ministers who do not support the Prime Minister on his referendum stance?

The cabinet’s support for the PM on a crucial national matter appears to be in question. This is quite an extraordinary state of affairs.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 134 Comments

Farron calls on Cameron to act to end “immeasurable suffering” of migrants

Tim Farron has written to David Cameron to urge him to ensure that the UK takes its fair share of those poor, desperate, vulnerable people we’ve all seen on our tv screens. He wrote:

I am writing to you about the current humanitarian crisis in Calais and its impact here in the UK.

I am sure you agree that it is heartbreaking to see hundreds of desperate people subsisting in makeshift camps night after night, willing to risk life and limb in the hope of a better future while many in Kent and across the country see their daily lives hugely disrupted through no fault of their own.

I welcome your commitment yesterday to providing France with the resources needed to deal with the situation and am writing to seek assurances that alongside the necessary security measures, support will also be given to humanely process those seeking asylum, return those who have no right to remain, and ensure that, in line with international obligations, standards of welfare and accommodation are urgently improved.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 49 Comments

Opinion: Refugees are people too

I recently watched a television programme in which Ross Kemp looks at the situation in Calais, where thousands of refugees are seeking to gain access to the UK in the most dangerous manner.

I have no special knowledge of the situation there, nor from what they are fleeing – who can? But I do know that seeing the programme has made me deeply ashamed of being European. Not being a citizen of the European Union, but being a member of a large community that has not yet addressed the issue of how we can help people in such dire straits.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Lord Roger Roberts writes…Don’t cut funding for charities which help homeless migrants

Homelessness among Central and Eastern European migrants in London is a notoriously difficult issue to tackle. Success stories are few and far between. For this reason, I was extremely concerned to learn that two London councils are cutting their funding to one of the most effective charities that deals with this issue. The charity is Barka UK.

I am President of Friends of Barka UK. Today in the Lords I will question the Government about their plans to continue funding reconnection programmes, such as those offered by Barka UK. I have recently founded the ‘Setting the Record Straight’ campaign …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments
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