Tag Archives: refugee crisis

LibLink: Amna Ahmad: The Tories’ response to the refugee crisis shows that they are turning their back on the world

Lib Dem candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Amna Ahmad, has written for the House magazine about the ongoing refugee crisis.

We have always helped those seeking sanctuary, even at times when we faced domestic challenges and hard times, and we must continue to do so. Recognising others’ need even when we have distractions of our own is part of our identity, or “British values”, and I will not allow Brexit or Nigel Farage to take that away.

Furthermore, at a time when we are seen by many to be turning our back on the rest of to the world, behaving with compassion in the way we relate to those fleeing their homes sends a hugely significant message of unity and understanding to other nations, and we will find it affects our standing in the world for years to come.

But Theresa May has shown that she does not care. Under her government, the Conservatives have U-turned on two previous pledges, including one to take more refugees from Syria and another to help abandoned child refugees.

She outlines what the Liberal Democrats would do:

Posted in LibLink | 5 Comments

The Independent View: Urgent Call for European Commission to reconsider its Dublin Transfer recommendations.

In the same week that the world marked Human Rights Day, the European Commission announced plans to resume the so-called “Dublin transfers” of refugees back to Greece. If this recommendation is adopted at this week’s meeting of European leaders in Brussels (commencing in February of next year) EU member countries will start returning refugees who arrive on their territory back to the country of their first entry into the European Union, wherever that may be. Dublin transfers to Greece from other Member States have been suspended since 2011 following two judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) which identified systemic deficiencies in the Greek asylum system. I have seen with my own eyes the desperation of the situation in Greece and it is far from pleasant. For the last year I have been been volunteering on the Aegean Island of Samos in Greece, I can confirm that to reinstate the Dublin transfers could result in a catastrophic degeneration in conditions which are already unsanitary, unsafe and badly over crowded. Grassroots organisations and volunteers on the ground in Greece are very concerned about these findings for a number of reasons outlined below.

Despite the EC’s claims that “significant improvements have been made in the reception of Refugees in Greece’’, in fact many sites in Greece remain badly overcrowded and unsanitary, with inadequate , shelter, food or medical provision, not to mention provision for minors and vulnerable groups and child safe spaces and psycho social activities. As the UN high commissioner Filippo Grandi highlighted in August, all of the EU member states need to do more to Help Greece help to manage the impact of the refugee crisis  “The challenges ( in Greece) are very serious, and we need to continue to address them together,” Grandi said. “Especially the living conditions, security in the refugee sites, and terrible overcrowding on the islands. These are all issues for which we continue to be at the disposal of the Greek government.” He also stressed the need for EU member states to speed up legal options such as family reunification and relocation through the EU’s official relocation programme.

The report stated that “with Dublin transfers suspended, there is an incentive for asylum seekers who arrive irregularly in Greece to seek to move irregularly on to other Member States (known as ‘secondary movements’), in the knowledge they will not be sent back to Greece.” However it is completely unfair that only one mechanism of the Dublin ruling which is being applied, when no moves are being made to force the schengen states to make good on their commitments to receive a quota of refugees. So far only 3,054 refugees have been relocated from Greece to other EU member states, while another 3,606 are scheduled to depart in the coming months. Still, support lags as member states have pledged only 8,003 spaces out of 66,400 committed. If the transfers are restarted Greece will once again be bearing the burden for the refugee crisis completely unsupported by other responsible Schengen states. This ‘pull factor’ ascertain is very tiring. I feel it would be far more pertinent to prioritise processing people’s asylum claims more quickly and efficiently rather than wasting time and money on sending people back to Greece, only to be processed again. It is my firm held belief that if they do this refugees and asylum seekers won’t be forced to move ‘irregularly’.It is the terrible, unsanitary and inhumane conditions in Greece & the lack of income supplement, social welfare, inadequate medical care and the glacial asylum processing system is what propels people to move illegally rather than waiting it out. I feel that authorities must work instead to speed up the relocation and family reunification transfers & to improve living conditions in Greece.

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged | 4 Comments

LibLInk: Jeremy Purvis: West’s response no match for Lebanon’s crisis

Lib Dem Peer Jeremy Purvis recently visited Lebanon, an already struggling country which has taken so many refugees from the conflict in Syria. Here he writes for the Scotsman about his experience.

The scale of the flow of refugees into Lebanon cannot be understated. Amnesty International puts the figure at more than 1.5 million. The flow of refugees into the country is proportionately the equivalent of the US taking most of the population of Mexico (little good a Trumpian wall). The number of refugees that the UK has accepted pales into insignificance by comparison.

Driving along the Syrian border area I

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Lib Dems donate aid and volunteer in Calais

Drop stitches not bombsDespite not being as high on the news agenda the refugee crisis is still ongoing, with thousands of people seeking safety arriving on Europe’s shores every week.

The Lib Dems have been proud to stand up for refugees and campaign for the UK to offer help and safety. Tim Farron was the first party leader to visit Calais, Lesvos and Idomeni. He has led the campaign for the UK to take in 3000 unaccompanied refugee children from Europe. Our peers in the House of Lords have worked tirelessly to pressure the government to take in more refugees. On the ground Lib Dem volunteers have raised vanloads of essential items donations to be sent to aid refugees in the camps across Europe.

There are serious concerns that Brexit and rising anti-migrant rhetoric could be a backwards step in our campaigns to take in more refugees. The political developments following the leave vote could also take attention away from the ongoing plights of refugees. However we as Lib Dems refuse to let brexit mean that we forget our moral obligations to help refugees. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron: Scrapping Minister for Refugees shows May’s Govt shrinking from role in solving refugee crisis

Syrian refugees by Syria Freedom Freedom House Flickr CCL 2In an article for the Huffington Post, Tim Farron has slammed Theresa May for scrapping the post of Minister for Refugees, a post which was only established by David Cameron last September to make it look like he was doing something.

The minister, amongst other things, oversaw the implementation of Britain’s commitment to take 20,000 Syrian refugees from the region and an additional 3,000 vulnerable refugee children from the Middle East over the course of this Parliament. This process was already moving at a snail’s pace – by the end of March of this year only 1,602 people had been resettled in the UK. Now, with no one holding the ball on this issue you have to wonder how anyone can remain optimistic that we will hit this target.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

LibLink: Alistair Carmichael: The child refugee vote brought shame on the government

Alistair Carmichael has written a coldly furious article for the New Statesman about the vote last night when the Government defeated the Lords’ Amendment to the Immigration Bill which would have seen this country do its duty and take a relatively small number of child refugees.

Just last week, we saw the Government feign compassion to draw away attention from the calls for accepting 3,000 children, through their own announcement which completely sidestepped the issue of child refugees in danger within Europe, where Europol has estimated that as many as 10,000 unaccompanied children on the continent have disappeared, and will be spread out over four years to water down an already disappointing figure. They then went one step further by implanting a clause meaning that this will be the last time the amendment to accept 3,000 child refugees can be debated. It’s pretty hard to look away from the simple truth that the Government simply doesn’t care about these children.

We can get disappointed by the many wrong decisions the Conservatives are making, be they selfish, misguided or unproductive, but it’s the decisions like the one taken yesterday which really show the Government at its worst and really make me and so many others across our country downright angry. Like cuts to tax credits or employment support allowance, failing to help these refugees is directly putting lives in grave danger.

Providing a safe home for these children, separated from their families and in desperate circumstances, was easily achievable, he said:

However it’s imperative that, as politicians, we do care and when this year alone approximately 171,000 refugees decided water was safer than land and made the treacherous crossing across the Mediterranean, it’s our duty to provide a sustainable solution to deliver help for the most vulnerable. The amendment which was voted on last night would have allowed a small number of child refugees into the UK, a number which our country could have easily handled. The Liberal Democrats carried out a consultation with experts and charities to provide a blueprint for resettling Europe’s child refugees and the clear evidence showed that it was possible. Members from across the House united to try to save these children, having been profoundly moved by their terrifying ordeal.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron: The Government’s latest capitulation to take up to 3000 more refugees is welcome but not enough

Well, it serves me right for not reading something properly. I was on the train yesterday on my way to a hot date with lots of blue envelopes and leaflets when I saw the BBC announce that the UK was going to take thousands of child refugees. I thought that they had agreed to the request that had been made repeatedly by Tim Farron over the last few months.

I should have known better that this was just a re-hash of an earlier announcement ahead of a key parliamentary vote on Monday. Tim Farron saw through it straight away, and explained in the Huffington Post why it fell far short of what is needed:

If I was cynical I’d remark on the fact that this latest announcement comes just days before a crucial vote in the Commons which would force the Tories to take 3,000 vulnerable child refugees from Europe and it seems that the Government are trying to buy off MPs ahead of that.

Of course the Government’s latest capitulation to take up to 3,000 individuals from the Syrian region over the next four years is welcome but it is simply not enough. When I travelled to Greece earlier this month I saw thousands of refugee children languishing in camps that were overstretched and understaffed. Tens of thousands of vulnerable children travelling alone arrived in Europe last year – this latest announcement will do nothing for them. Instead they will continue to live on food rations, without access to education and without hope or fall prey to traffickers and those who would exploit them.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Visiting the Northern Greece refugee camps with Tim Farron

Refugee camp Northern GreeceOn Monday I flew out to Greece with Tim ahead of his visit to the camps in the North on Tuesday. Hours earlier UNHCR informed us they would no longer be able to facilitate the visit of a ‘high-profile’ individual given the security concerns after the clashes the day before. I tried desperately to reassure them that it was not exactly a ‘high profile’ visit, there would be no security team, huddle of staff and no media crew following him around– something that I don’t think they really believed.

So we flew into Greece with ‘fluid’ plans let’s say.

I spent Monday night manically emailing all the contacts I had working in the field to see if we could line up briefings for Tim the next day and had a surprising response. Everyone was very keen to meet Tim to tell him what they were doing and what they needed from the UK Government. One organisation who wasn’t even currently in Idomeni, the informal camp we visited on Tuesday morning, came over especially to give Tim and an overview of what was happening on the ground day in, day out.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

Tim Farron launches blueprint for UK to take 3000 unaccompanied refugee children

Tim Farron has this afternoon published his blueprint for how the UK could take 3000 unaccompanied refugee children.

Earlier he spoke to the Daily Politics about the plan and his visit to Northern Greece yesterday.

The plan has been drawn up in consultation with the charities and NGOs who attended his recent summit on the issue. The main recommendations are as follows:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Tim Farron visits refugee camps in Greece – “Real people in desperate circumstances fleeing war”

The news is constantly full of big numbers, thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people heading to Europe to escape war and destruction. Tim Farron is in Greece today, talking to some of them. What’s very clear is that behind those big numbers are individual people and families, just like ours, who had been living peaceable lives, getting on with their jobs, sending their children to school, just like the rest of us. They have been displaced by events beyond their control, war, violence, destruction and seek a place of safety where they can contribute to society and get on with their lives.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

Doing more for refugees

Greek Statue of LibertyLast week, I was in Lesvos for a fieldclass. The module was ostensibly meant to focus on island economies, what issues does Lesvos’ economy face by virtue of being an island. On the second day of the class, it became clear that the real focus had to be about refugees not as statistics on a page. But as people.

We arrived in Lesvos on 19th March, the day the EU-Turkey deal came into effect. The next day, we went on a walk around Mitilini (the capital of Lesvos) when I took this photograph. It was meant to be a picture of the Greek Statue of Liberty, which celebrates their liberation from the Ottoman Empire. But in the bottom right hand corner of the picture, you will see a large ship, full of people waiting to leave.

Posted in Op-eds | 5 Comments

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. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

We should be ashamed of UK inaction on refugee crisis

David Trett refugees

On a bleak windswept desolate morning in mid February, I walked through puddles of mud whilst alongside me a community of refugees, desperate to re-start their lives, remain near the French /UK border hoping to escape the situation and get to the UK, or some other place of sanctuary. I visited along with my Lib Dem colleague Councillor David Chalmers. I’m left wondering what will become to all those that I met this weekend.

I believe in showing humanity, care and love for our fellow citizens wherever they come from in the world, especially those escaping from lives of persecution, violence and discrimination. We, as a country, should be utterly ashamed of ourselves, as should the French authorities, for allowing a situation to develop only 20-25 minutes by travel from our shore, where a group of harmless, fear stricken people are left looking for sanctuary.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Political disconnect in Calais and Dunkirk

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 10.30.54It is not surprising that media reports focus on the appalling conditions in the Calais and Dunkirk camps. On a recent trip Lord Roberts’ team saw for themselves how men, women and children live in knee-high mud, and brave the winter weather with little more than flimsy tents to keep the wind and rain at bay. In response to accusations that the British government are neglecting their humanitarian responsibilities, the Prime Minister champions the fact that under the Dublin Regulations, the UK has to allow family members of British people to claim asylum in the UK.

Despite the Dublin Regulations, the reality is that virtually no one can access this legal route. Many asylum seekers do not fully understand the unnecessarily complex system, and are unaware of exactly what their rights are; there are even reports of British passport holders unable to enter the UK from the camps. Despite government claims that British officials are present in the camp, these visits are occasional at best and offer no means of beginning an asylum claim. So although many asylum seekers in Calais and Dunkirk (as well as across Europe) have a legitimate legal right to claim asylum in the UK, it is incredibly difficult to access in practice. 

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Tim Farron to host urgent summit on unaccompanied refugee children

An urgent summit to discuss unaccompanied asylum seeking children who have fled conflict, poverty and persecution will be chaired by leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron.

Liberal Democrats have been pressing the Government to take 3000 orphaned child refugees who have reached European shores.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Baroness Shas Sheehan writes…Europe’s humanitarian crisis and how you can help

Tim Farron has been superb on the issue of the humanitarian crisis in Europe. He was the first Leader of any party to visit the camp in Calais; in Lesvos he witnessed the desperation and fear of those fleeing Assad; for many months he has been calling for 3000 unaccompanied children in Europe to be brought to the UK.

Whilst lawyers and parliamentarians challenge the Government to implement the safe and legal routes into the UK, thousands upon thousands of people on the run from brutal regimes are suffering the most appalling conditions.

Humanitarian aid is needed.

What you can do to help

Many Liberal Democrats have been asking what they can sensibly do to help. So here are some suggestions:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Farron: David Cameron “heartless and stupid” to ignore plight of child refugees in Europe

Tim Farron has been doing the rounds on the media this morning to talk about the Government’s announcement that it will allow some child refugees into the UK. However, there are no plans to take unaccompanied children who are already in Europe. Tim has been arguing since the Summer for the Government to do more to help these children and was the first party leader to back Save the Children’s campaign for 3000 refugee children to be given sanctuary in this country so that they didn’t have to spend their lives in refugee camps, or vulnerable to exploitation. He has questioned the Prime Minister on this at every opportunity and before Christmas presented a Bill to enshrine that commitment into law. Laura Kuenssberg’s assertion in the BBC report that the announcement comes after pressure in “recent days” does not recognise Tim’s long-standing efforts.

Tim’s initial reaction to the announcement was that it didn’t go far enough as it didn’t do enough for those children who had already made it to Europe.

This is an important step, but it is far from the guarantee these desperate children need, and action must follow immediately.

Thousands of children are travelling across Europe. They are cold, alone and scared. They deserve a safe, welcoming home and I won’t stop until that’s what we’ve given them.

As a country we must pull together and offer them a home, while encouraging our European neighbours to do the same.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Tim talks: Talking to refugees in Lesvos and a question to the Prime Minister

The latest “Tim Talks” video below looks at Tim’s visit to Lesvos and his question to the Prime Minister:

Posted in Lib Dem TV | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron: The Tory conference is ignoring the humanitarian crisis unfolding on our doorstep

Tim Farron has written for the Independent about how the Tory Conference is ignoring the humanitarian crisis. This was written at the same time as Liberal Democrat Chief Whip went to Calais with a car full of items donated by Liberal Democrat staff.

They will say, over and over, that Jeremy Corbyn will bankrupt your country, steal your job and surrender to Britain’s enemies. They might even have a go at him for not singing the national anthem. And while I might agree that the Islington North MP lives in an economic fantasy land – a land far removed from fiscal reality – these Tory tactics are a smokescreen; and not a particularly sophisticated one. You can bet your bottom dollar they won’t be talking about the biggest single issue facing Europe today – the refugee crisis.

They will simply not discuss developing a proper international plan to help the hundreds of thousands of migrants scattered across Europe or the millions of people trapped in Middle Eastern tented camps. But with this help and support must come a diplomatic strategy to deal with nations like Syria whose barbaric civil war is uprooting millions of people.

Diplomacy is not done at the barrel of a gun or from 30,000 feet it is done by supporting moderate opposition and working with regional actors to make sure we do not play into the IS narrative. Together with a humanitarian response must come a diplomatic strategy. One strand cannot work without the other.

He outlined the action he wants to see:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Former Lib Dem Councillor tells his story of coming to UK as a teenage refugee

We’ve heard a lot of Liberal Democrats urging a compassionate response to the refugee crisis but for former Brent Councillor Paul Lorber, it’s personal.

He told the Brent and Kilburn Times about his family’s escape from Czechoslovakia and how he found safety in the UK:

He said: “I had no wish to go. I had a happy childhood in Czechoslovakia and did not want to leave all my friends and everything else I had known.”

His parents, who had both survived the horrors of Nazi concentration camps in the Second World War- his mother Auschwitz Berkenau and his father Sachenhausen- knew the risks of bringing up a Jewish family under a violent dictatorship and wanted a secure future for their sons.

After their first attempt to cross the Austrian border was blocked by a stand-off with a Russian tank his father was forced to falsify exit papers which claimed he was taking them on holiday to Yugoslavia…

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

VIDEO: The three minutes of Tim’s speech where he speaks with raw rage about refugees

People have been requesting this clip. Click below for the three minutes of Tim’s conference speech when he spoke about refugees. The video starts when the passage starts. The passage ends at 31’32 with a standing ovation and then the video continues with the rest of the speech if you want to see it.



Posted in Conference | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Aliens? Migrants? Exiles? Refugees? Asylum seekers? People? Dreamers?

Immigration is perhaps the main debate area where terminology gets very confused. The Express and Mail get people very wound up about “immigrants”. But what are people exactly getting wound up about? Illegal immigrants? Asylum seekers? Legal immigrants? Or people who were born in the UK, and who perhaps have several generations of antecedents who were born here, but just look different to themselves? We have to be very precise about terms or we get into a very emotionally-charged muddle.

In an LDV article entitled “Don’t talk to me about migrants” Caron noted on here last month that words matter in the reporting and discussion of the refugee crisis. I’ve read some correspondence between a complainant and the BBC from last month (and I’m sorry I can’t find it at the moment) where the BBC were adamantly sticking to the word “migrant” to describe the current movement of people across borders.

So, I couldn’t believe it when on Wednesday night on the ten o’clock news on BBC1, a BBC reporter actually referred to “refugees”. (I know it’s not the BBC, but Ben Shephard on ITV also referred on Thursday morning to the “refugee crisis”.) And a quick search of the BBC website for the last few weeks shows that they have been frequently using the word “refugees”. But they still use the word “migrants” in many blanket headlines.

Posted in News and Op-eds | 18 Comments

Tim Farron: Britain needs to roll up its sleeves to help refugees

Yesterday, Tim Farron went to the Refugees Welcome rally:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Jim Wallace: Statement on refugees falls short of a moral response

Here is Jim Wallace’s response to the Government’s statement in the House of Lords on the drone strikes and the refugee crisis. Here it is in full:

My Lords, I also thank the noble Baroness the Leader of the House for repeating the Prime Minister’s Statement on these very profound and serious issues. I also endorse what the noble Baroness the Leader of the Opposition said—we appreciate the fact that there will be an extended period for Back-Bench questions.

Probably nothing is more important than the Government’s primary responsibility of security of the realm and its citizens. The Prime Minister acknowledges that in his Statement. Clearly, we do not have the evidence, nor would it be appropriate to share that evidence publicly, and therefore we must accept the judgment of the Prime Minster in responding to perhaps one of the most serious calls that has been made on him. However, it would be interesting to know whether this is a matter that the Intelligence and Security Committee will be able to look at.

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

The Independent View: Liberals need solutions to the migrant crisis – and conflict prevention will be key

 

So this was the tragedy of a Britain with open hearts and closed borders. The growing humanitarian crisis in Syria coupled with instability in North Africa is creating one greatest migrations waves seen since the end of World War II. Jordan alone has taken over 1.1 million displaced Syrians and is now suffering water shortages that could lead into larger migrations into other Middle Eastern nations.

The reaction to this has been largely isolationist policies, with commentators in the UK describing these migrants anywhere between ‘cockroaches’ and ‘a swarm’; the narrative media focused on dehumanising those fleeing conflict.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 60 Comments

The shocking stories of refugees from Syria should stir a response

David Cameron seems, at last, to be softening his stance, but references to “swarms” of refugees have been shocking. It has felt as if he were a party-politician more in sympathy with the xenophobic strand of his own party than a statesman able to see the plight of people making desperate journeys to escape a situation in Syria that most of people in the UK should be glad not to understand.

The numbers should inject some realism. The total population of Syria is just under 23 Million. The total population of the European Union is 503 Million.Around 7.6 million people have been displaced within Syria, 1.6 million to Turkey, 1.2 million to Lebanon, 600,000 to Jordan, 242,000 to Iraq, 136,000 to Egypt. That puts the 150,000 who have sought asylum in the EU into perspective.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged | 24 Comments

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!


Emma Lazarus – words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, New York City (with thanks to Rev. Giles Fraser).

Tim Farron has today responded o David Cameron’s approach to the refugee crisis as follows:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 36 Comments

LibLink: Catherine Bearder MEP: Cameron must wake up and join the EU’s response to the refugee crisis

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder has written for Left Foot Forward to criticise David Cameron’s decision to take Syrian refugees, as long as they aren’t already in Europe.

Plans are being drawn up to take a limited number of refugees directly from camps on Syria’s borders, but much to the dismay of our EU partners, Cameron continues to rule out taking part in an EU response to the thousands of desperate refugees arriving on Europe’s shores. This may be politically expedient, but it is strategically short-sighted. Only by working together at the EU level can we address the biggest refugee crisis since WW2.

Like Tim Farron, Catherine has now visited Calais to see the camps there for herself:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 26 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 15th Aug - 10:53pm
    Martin As you do not get quite to the point of insulting people, I regard the comments you make worth noting. I think as one...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 15th Aug - 9:54pm
    The honest answer is, "We don't know". What we do know is that to rejoin the EU after Brexit would involve a host of EU...
  • User AvatarGlenn 15th Aug - 9:41pm
    A very brief few days of panic, followed by claims that transition arrangements mean we haven't really left yet, then a couple of more years...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 15th Aug - 9:14pm
    Various - Isn't a problem here that there isn't really any such thing as the 'white working class' any more. At least not in any...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Aug - 9:12pm
    Paul, How can you doubt Brexit will be a success when you see the detailed arguments put forward by their leaders and the level of...
  • User AvatarMartin 15th Aug - 9:10pm
    If there is 'no deal' is a conjecture, taken literally the consequences would be rapid and calamitous. The only 'project fear' about it, is to...