Tag Archives: refugees

We have positive answers on asylum issues – let us shout them out

There is no need to go into the detail of the current crisis in the asylum system. Everyone is talking about it but are the Lib Dems pushing and promoting our well thought out policies, agreed by the party, that have positive solutions?

After two policy papers that an enormous of work had gone into, we can talk honestly and with passion on the issues, but do we? Parliamentarians, policy units and members put in a lot of work, but was it worth bothering?

I alternated between shouting at the radio and despair on hearing Yvette Cooper on the Today programme yesterday morning. I have a lot of respect for her usually but she was refusing to commit to the right to work for asylum seekers, had little to say about safe routes for refugees, had no mention of humanitarian visas, and only vague swipes at the decision making process.

But where are our voices on these issues?

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Moran: Britain’s response to Taliban is a story of betrayal

Witing in yesterday’s i newspaper, Layla Moran said we must help Afghans in the UK by moving them out of hotels and into homes.

The UK Government promised that our doors would be open to Afghans at risk – including women, LGBTQ+ people and minority groups – but it has shut them as soon as they thought nobody was looking.

What about those who did make it to the UK?… Ten thousand Afghans remain stuck in hotels up and down the country… A significant proportion of these people put their lives on the line to help UK forces during the war and were promised the chance to start a new life here in the UK. Instead, they’ve been left in limbo by the Conservative Government.

A year on government promises to Afghans and to the British public lie in tatters, Moran says. “We will not let those commitments be forgotten.”

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Our nation should hang its head in shame over Rwanda refugee plans

I cannot believe the depths to which our nation has sunk. We have a government led by a liar and by ministers and civil servants being handed out fines for breaking their own laws. We have a government that slaps tax increases on struggling people and refuses to raise benefits to the level people need to survive. Food banks, once few and far between, and now ubiquitous and essential for good health and survival of many families. And we have a government that is planning to fly migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing.

It is almost impossible to see any humanitarianism in this government’s attitude towards refugees crossing the channel to a country they dream of as a safe haven. Instead of tackling the people smugglers who have been responsible for hundreds of deaths in the same way we tackle terrorists, our government is taking aim at vulnerable people desperate for new lives.

Priti Patel is in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, today to sign the “migration and economic development partnership” this morning. This is low moment for our country that I have always believed had humanity in its national heart.

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Davey to Truss: Emergency airlifts for refugees on Polish border needed

Ed Davey has called for an emergency airlift for Ukrainian refugees on the Polish border who want to reach the UK. In a letter today to the Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, Ed Davey has suggested the UK Government must now provide free flights to the UK, with coaches to the nearest Polish airports from key border crossing points and welcoming reception centres for the refugees on arrival at the UK.

The call comes following the Liberal Democrat Leader’s visit to the Polish border this week to meet with Ukrainian refugees and the charities supporting them. In contrast to the swift action of the British public to offer shelter and countless volunteers from the UK to help with the humanitarian crisis, Ed Davey was appalled by the absence of any UK Government personnel to provide swift and safe passage to those fleeing to the UK.

Boris Johnson’s reckless dismissal of security warnings about one wealthy Russian contrasts with his heartlessly inadequate response to countless Ukrainian women and children fleeing Putin’s bombs. This shames him and his Government.

Emergency airlifts are now the best guarantee for these refugees to get to the UK safely and swiftly, to the kindness and compassion of the British public waiting for them.

It was shocking to see so many other nations united and already helping refugees at a humanitarian aid centre near the Ukrainian-Polish border, whilst the UK Government had no-one.

The queues of refugees are exhausted and traumatised. Surely these families have been through enough. It’s urgent that people are now airlifted to safety and help so they can start rebuilding their lives.

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Carmichael: Seize oligarch mansions to house Ukrainian refugees

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Government seize mansions and houses belonging to oligarchs linked to Putin’s regime and use them to help house Ukrainian refugees.

In a letter to the Home Secretary, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said UK properties owned by Putin’s cronies should be used to house Ukrainian refugees temporarily while they await permanent resettlement.

He added this could prevent the situation faced by Afghan refugees last year, many of whom were left languishing for months in hotel rooms or military barracks while they awaited permanent accommodation.

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Lib Dems stand in solidarity with Ukraine and call for UK to do more for refugees

The Russian Consulate in Edinburgh, like many places around the UK,  has seen peaceful demonstrations every day since the Russians invaded Ukraine.

Today was the biggest so far, with Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton and Christine Jardine MP.

Yesterday, Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper attended a similar event in St Albans

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Welsh Lib Dems call for UK to follow Ireland and let in Ukrainian refugees

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the UK Conservative Government to axe the Nationality and Borders Bill amid the ongoing Russian Invasion of Ukraine. In a letter to Home Secretary Minister Priti Patel, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has urged her to drop the “cruel” bill stating that the events over the last few days demonstrates its “cruel consequences”.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have also called on the Government to follow the lead of Ireland and waive visa requirements for all Ukrainians and open a resettlement scheme immediately.

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Observations of an Expat: Nation v the World

I told you so. In all humility, I was not alone. The WHO issued a veritable flood of dire warnings. Dozens of NGOs did the same. So did an army of globalists who argued that common sense dictated that Covid is a global problem that requires global cooperation to save lives and a world economy of which we are all a part.

We argued that Africa, with poor its health conditions and poorer health facilities, was likely to produce a highly transmissible mutant virus that would find its way north and bite a Europe and America that ignored Africa firmly in the bum.

I may be overstating the case. Scientists are waiting for more data before a judgement on the seriousness of the Omicron variant. So far there appears to be good news and bad news in initial reports from Africa and the 29 non-African countries to which it has spread in a matter of days.

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4pm today – show your solidarity with refugees

People across Scotland will be placing an image like this in windows with a candle at 4pm today to show solidarity with refugees.

I thought it might be an idea to share the idea here in case any readers want to take part.

This started as an initiative from the Strathclyde Chapter of the Methodist Church. Lib Dem Councillor Fiona Dryburgh is a member and shared it. It’s fine for heathens like me to take part. The idea is:

Print the picture – or draw an orange heart on a piece of paper and put it in your window with a candle today at 4pm. Take a picture of it and post it on your Twitter account with the following tag: @IMIX_UK or tag your post with #TogetherWithRefugees.

I’m sure most people reading this will be filled with heartbreak and anger at the needless loss of life in the Channel. And we will also be horrified by our Government’s heartless attitude towards people trying to reach a better, safer life. And, to be honest, we’ll be horrified by the appalling way the French authorities have destroyed the refugee camps in Calais and hampered the efforts of people helping them.

Euan Davidson wrote on this site in 2018 about his volunteer trip to Calais to help refugees:

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Lib Dems Abroad: Supporting Afghans fleeing Taliban

At the Lib Dems Abroad first-ever Global Conference successfully held last weekend, I announced that a flight took off from Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan that morning carrying around 200 Afghan female judges and their families bound for Athens. A first flight of Afghan female MPs arrived in Athens a few weeks ago. Another flight is expected to take more Afghan female judges and their families bound for Abu Dhabi.

However, these are the last flights envisaged for Afghans trying to flee their country in the face of the Taliban and also vengeful criminals released from prison by the Taliban who seek retribution for their previous sentences by Afghan female judges.

On board that flight to Athens were the four family members of Gul Ahmad Kamin MP, leader of the Afghan Civil Democrats, a group with whom Lib Dems Overseas has been working with for several years in the Afghan Wolesi Jirga or Parliament. And we have now succeeded in getting the leader’s family out. We will work on gaining the UK government’s support for their resettlement in the UK.

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An encounter with a refugee from Afghanistan

The refugee crisis, ways in which people in often desperate need of help, should be supported, still hugely divides politicians, decision makers, families and our communities.

  • “Welcome or not welcome”?
  • If welcome, how many?
  • Support legitimate governments in war torn countries?
  • Send aid? Where to?
  • Support directly organisations such as British Red Cross?

Endless questions…There is not one easy answer. There is not one solution to solve this complex and global issue. People have always migrated. People will continue to “move around” for a wide range of reasons. Some of us have a choice of going back to our native countries, however many individuals have absolutely no choice. That choice was often taken away from them without their will. The decision to flee was “imposed” on them. Many refugees that I met since I arrived in the UK, often, didn’t want to leave their homes.

In the last week or so, I had another opportunity to meet a refugee, this time from Afghanistan. It is one thing to read a story in the paper or watch a bit of “refugee news” on TV; it really is very different when we encounter someone who had to, often overnight, leave absolutely everything.

Imagine this: it is hard, however you have a job, you work and you are able to support your family. Then, due to “external factors”; sudden change of circumstances, in order to remain safe and alive, you have to flee. You are then “parachuted” into another country, UK in this case. You are moved around; from Birmingham, Croydon, to Hertfordshire. You are given very little support. You have to find your way around a very inhumane and complex system. You might be moved again as your accommodation was given to you on a temporary basis. You have nothing; not even a buggy to move your child around while you are trying to find the best way to stay “sane”. You are tired, confused, bewildered. Endless emails, confused messages; an absolute nightmare. But, you still smile…How? I have no idea. A simple, often emotional conversation, with a real person can hugely change our perceptions on how to support refugees.

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WATCH: Alistair Carmichael’s Conference Speech in full

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael spoke on the opening day of the Party’s Autumn Conference. In his speech he discussed Covid ID cards, Priti Patel’s Home Office failures, the labour shortage crisis and refugees. And the video is spectacular.

 

I don’t know if our Home Secretary lacks the empathy or imagination to put herself in the place of these desperate people who take these risks to get to our shores.

But I DO know that her response to that growing crisis shames our country…

This summer we saw Tory MPs queuing up to criticise the RNLI… for doing what they exist to do, saving lives at sea.

a government led by a Prime Minister who considers himself to be above the rule of law. A government that rules for the benefit of the elite… Whatever challenges present themselves in the weeks and months to come we shall continue to take the fight to this government.

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Vince Cable: UK needs to take lead on Afghan refugee crisis

Writing in the Independent, former Lib Dem leader Vince Cable talks of harrowing scenes at Kabul airport and asks if Britain is planning to take enough Afghan refugees and whether the Home Office is thinking of treating them with a generous spirit. Some Afghans working for our government will be told they do not have a strong enough connection with Britain, even though the documents showing that connection could qualify them for execution by the Taliban. Are we an overcrowded island? Or will we benefit from people who bring skills, entrepreneurial energy, cultural diversity and a supply of labour to regenerate an ageing country? Or should we simply accept refugees out of compassion?

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Afghan refugees: a perspective from Herts

My grandparents fled the pogroms in Russia and several members of my family escaped from the Nazis in Germany. A lifetime as an activist in the Liberal Democrats has taught me that immigration is a blessing not a curse and we have always stood up for those fleeing persecution. And as an Asylum Judge, I heard every day harrowing tales of people who have not been welcomed to our country. The first Afghan refugee arrivals came to two hotels bang in the middle of my division in Hertfordshire.

Sunday morning saw a three mile traffic jam outside a car park. People had rushed to local shops to buy items we had requested for our welcome guests.

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Afghanistan: Delusion and disgrace

The return of MPs to Westminster this week was a significant moment. Not for the abandoned people of Afghanistan, perhaps, whose immediate concerns probably do not include listening to the Prime Minister’s justifications for being absent from his post as Kabul fell. The needs of the Afghan people are as far removed from the Westminster circus as it is possible to imagine.

For while, for example, there is a real debate on how many asylum seekers this country should take, which will have enormous impact on the lives of those affected, Britain has never looked so peripheral in an issue affecting the transatlantic alliance.

The Prime Minister’s statement on Afghanistan was an exercise in window-dressing and back-covering, an attempt to evade responsibility while attempting to look serious and statesmanlike.

Delusion runs deep in England at present. Too many of us in Britain and America wrongly believe we can be better off by ourselves alone. That myth has been tested to destruction before. Let’s pray that we in this generation are not forced to learn the lesson all over again.

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Lib Dem councillors call for action on Afghan refugee crisis

Shropshire Lib Dems are joining councillors and activists across the country in calling on their councils and MPs for greater and faster action on the Afghan refugee crisis. Many councillors are lobbing their MPs, including Carshalton & Wallington. There is a row going on in Guilford, where the Lib Dems are getting on with the job but the Conservatives are trying to score political points. Elsewhere, there are some difficulties in councils acting refugees because of budget and housing constraints.

I am pleased and proud to live in a county that is welcoming to refugees. It is always a challenge to find housing and ensure the right level of support and independence for refugees. But we know that they settle well and become part of our community. With the experience of the Syrian Resettlement Programme (VPRS), we are ready to take many more but that will depend on a greater ambition and degree of humanity than the government is currently showing.

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Britain must commit to taking Afghan refugees

The unfolding military conflict in Afghanistan has long been leading to a humanitarian crisis. As British and American troops leave the country, the Taliban has continued its offensive march, taking towns and cities almost at will. At the time of writing they have entered the capital and look set to destroy Afghanistan’s fragile but growing democracy and replace it with a brutal regime.

British troops are currently evacuating UK nationals and are encouraging those who risked everything by working with Coalition forces against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to go through the resettlement scheme. This bureaucratic nightmare however can take months and even years to navigate, with the United States’ equivalent being even more complex. Without immediate action now, we are condemning those heroes and their families who risked everything to help our troops to the mercy of the Taliban.

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Priti Patel failing on legal routes for refugees

As Refugee Week begins, the Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to establish safe and legal routes for refugees to come to the UK.

The motion, tabled by the party’s Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP, calls on the Government to resettle 10,000 refugees each year, as well as a further 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe over the next 10 years.

It follows Home Office data showing that just 353 refugees were brought to the UK last year, compared with 4,968 the year before.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative Government is turning its back on refugees.

Priti Patel is threatening to punish refugees who don’t come here by safe and legal routes, but at the same time she is failing to provide those routes.

Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to make an ambitious, ten-year commitment to resettle 10,000 vulnerable refugees a year from Syria and other dangerous conflict areas.

That is the best way to combat people smuggling and human trafficking, and to prevent people from making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel.

The full text of the motion is as follows;

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A Radical New Policy: Humanitarian Visas: a life-line for refugees

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With ever increasingly dangerous journeys, and increasingly restrictive measures against refugees to prevent them accessing asylum, the Liberal Democrats have taken the lead in adopting a radical new proposal: humanitarian visas for refugees to travel safely and legally to find the safety they deserve in the UK.

‘Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries freedom from persecution’, says Article 14 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. There is no such thing as an illegal asylum-seeker: only asylum seekers lacking legal routes to safety. But how can you get safely and legally to other countries?  Well, if you are British, your passport gives you visa-free access on arrival to 132 countries, and nearly all others will grant you a visa on application. But if you are Afghani, Iraqi, Iranian, or Syrian there is no such possibility.

In the year to March 2020, 35,000 people applied for asylum in the UK: virtually all of them had to enter irregularly – smuggled in lorries, crossing the channel in small boats, or using forged documentation. Ask yourself: why would a Darfuri escaping war-torn Sudan have to forge their passport to get on a plane from Khartoum to London? Why would an Eritrean in Calais pay thousands of pounds to traffickers, risking their lives by travelling in unseaworthy boats to reunite with their family in the UK, rather than board a Eurostar for £50? The answer is clear: if either of them attempted to use their national documents, they will be denied boarding.

Less than 1 percent of the world’s refugees are resettled. Most refugees are forced to risk their life and limb on perilous journeys, enduring extensive human rights violations on the way, to claim their human right to asylum. Many of those who made it to Calais have gone to dangerous lengths to reach adequate safety, running from Turkish border guards with a shoot to kill policy, walking the channel tunnel for 30 miles avoiding the speeding trains, suffering abuse and violence from police and border officials, cramming onto small unsafe dinghies to cross the channel, and losing their loved ones on the way, all to try and find safety.

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Safe way?

The Home Office’ s proposals to change the Asylum law is disturbing. They don’t reflect an understanding of the hardship and difficulties that refugees face. Desperate people resort to desperate actions risking their lives to find a better life.

It is very difficult for these people to come directly to Britain. No visitor visa, no way of boarding a plane. It is unlikely those in conflict zones can obtain a visa anyway. They will have to cross borders and journey across countries to reach Britain.

The measures proposed to send them back are not based on any humanitarianism but a simple desire to keep foreigners out of Brexit Britain. Indeed, there is no legal basis for the EU to accept those that have crossed their territories and I doubt if the EU is in any hurry to make such an agreement. Britain in fact has a smaller number of people seeking asylum than other western European countries.

In these last few years, I have got to know some Pakistani Christian refugees who have fled to Bangkok. They faced a situation where Christians were being murdered and being driven out of their homes. The level of intolerance led to heavy discrimination making life extremely difficult. I knew of someone who tried to set up a Unitarian church. He faced death threats and eventually his employer told him he would not employ him any longer as he didn’t want the company to have any trouble.

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21 March 2021 – the day’s press releases (part 2)

  • Reverse “deadly” aid cuts, say Liberal Democrats
  • Liberal Democrats call for greater measures to increase accessibility in education
  • Government must commit to 10k refugees a year, Liberal Democrats say

Reverse “deadly” aid cuts, say Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have called on the UK Government to reverse “unprincipled, unjustified and downright deadly” cuts to international aid.

The motion passed at its Spring Conference reaffirmed the Party’s commitment to the UK contributing 0.7% of GNI on Official Development Assistance and slammed the merging of the Department for International Development with the Foreign Office.

It also demanded the UK Government play a ‘proactive role in debt forgiveness and relief initiatives’ for developing countries struggling with the economic and health impact of Coronavirus.

Speaking after the motion was approved, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Development Layla Moran said:

The UK’s global reputation is disappearing fast. The decision to cut aid to the world’s poorest is not only wrong but short-sighted and strategically incompetent. The Conservatives are putting nukes before prosperity.

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Treat seekers of sanctuary with dignity – close Napier and Penally now

Just when you think you can’t get any more ashamed of the Home Office, they do something that takes your breath away.

Since last September, they have been effectively detaining seekers of sanctuary in two former military barracks in conditions which are less than humane. The Napier site in Kent and the Penally site at Tenby in Wales have housed accommodated hundreds of people in stark conditions. The detainees are supposed to be free to come and go but this does not seem to be how it operates in practice.

At a time when we are being told to socially distance and not mix indoors with other households at all, vulnerable refugees are put into dormitory accommodation. No wonder there have been outbreaks of Covid.

This week Jack Shenker described the harsh reality of their situation in an article in the Guardian:

From the moment the Home Office announced last year that it had struck a deal with the Ministry of Defence to repurpose Napier and another disused military site in Penally, south Wales, for this purpose, an extraordinary array of experts in the field – from doctors to lawyers to migrant support workers – have warned against the idea. Their fear was that following long journeys which had already left people physically and mentally vulnerable, and which were often precipitated by acts of state brutality, a martial environment of high walls and watchtowers was a deeply inappropriate form of accommodation for those seeking asylum, and wouldn’t provide them with the medical support and other basic services needed.

Even more pressingly, concerns were raised about the health implications of herding large numbers of people together during a deadly pandemic. At Napier, meals are served in a communal canteen and up to 28 people share a single sleeping area and two bathrooms, making social distancing impossible. For months, residents – who were theoretically free to come and go during the day, albeit at the sentries’ whim – have been trying to sound the alarm over the deteriorating situation inside: cold and cramped conditions, rising tensions and multiple suicide attempts.

It is of particular concern that volunteers trying to help the detainees have been made to sign confidentiality agreements to stop them revealing conditions at the camps.

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LibLink: Jane Dodds We must fulfil our moral duty and embrace refugees who seek safety and sanctuary

Jane Dodds makes a compelling case for a compassionate and welcoming approach to seekers of sanctuary in a column for Nation Cymru this week.

She challenges the “invasion’ narrative put out by the right:

With Nigel Farage decrying an “invasion” of our shores and Sarah Atherton, Conservative MP for Wrexham, calling for the Royal Navy to stop “huge scale” crossings, you could easily be led to believe we were seeing hundreds of thousands of people coming to the UK every day.

But the numbers of people seeking asylum are not increasing; despite the rhetoric which wants us to believe we are being invaded.

By allowing this dangerous narrative, which tells us we are under attack, we are directly putting lives at risk.

This is far from hyperbole – earlier in the summer Abdulfatah Hamdallah, a refugee from Sudan, tragically lost his life trying to cross the channel in an unsafe makeshift vessel.

When did we become so heartless and cruel, she asks:

Five years ago I travelled to Calais to donate tents, tarpaulin sleeping bags collected from across concerned people in Powys and saw first hand the living conditions these people were in and heard about the horrors they were escaping from. Just like Abdulfatah they weren’t coming to the UK to “scrounge” or to “take our jobs” they were doing what anyone of us would do if we found ourselves I n that situation – striving to make life better and safer for them and their loved ones.

I am a child protection social worker by profession. I have spent years supporting vulnerable people all around the world, particularly children seeking refuge and do you know what? I have never met a single family who does not have a heart breaking story for why they’re making the journey.

We hear a lot of talk about how “we’re full”, that we should “look after our own” and “have enough problems already to deal with”. Since when did we become so heartless and cruel?

These are people’s lives we are talking about, people who have nothing and are risking their lives to travel to a place where they feel is safe.

And she points out that those who come here seeking asylum contribute to our country too:

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Refugees are not our enemy – thoughts on Priti Patel’s remarks


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Around 4,000 migrants have crossed the channel from France in small boats this year. For context, 105,425 migrants crossed the Mediterranean sea to Southern European countries such as Italy and Greece last year. The overwhelming majority of refugees find sanctuary in the country neighbouring their own. Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uganda are amongst the host countries for the majority of refugees.

Refugees are under no legal obligation to claim asylum in the first safe country they land in. All refugees have a legitimate claim to asylum in any safe country if they are still at risk of persecution in their country of origin. There are just no legal routes to seek refuge in the UK. Seeking asylum should not be a crime.

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Lib Dems call for young refugees to have equal access to education

Senior Lib Dems have backed a call from newly elected Lib Dem Councillor Anton Georgiou for young refugees to be given computer equipment and support to enable them to access education during the pandemic.

Lib Dems at all levels, from MPs to Councillors, to London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita and London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, LDCRE Chair Roderick Lynch and Cllr Rabina Khan supported the initiative and signed Anton’s letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Upon investigating Cllr Georgiou found that while some vulnerable school pupils will be receiving free computer equipment to assist them with home learning, young refugee children and students learning English have so far been excluded from this much needed support.

Organisations like Young Roots, Refugee Support Network are concerned that these vulnerable young people will fall even further behind and not be able to keep up with their classmates.

In urging the Government to expand the support required, Anton highlights the excellent work being carried out by organisations like SocialBox.Biz, who are leading the way with initiatives like ‘Laptops for the Homeless and Vulnerable’.

Anton said:

Good education is a crucial stepping stone to allow young people to achieve their full potential. In the present crisis we must do everything possible to support young and vulnerable people to get access to the necessary equipment to enable them to continue with their education and contribute to our community.

Everyone deserves access to the tools to enable them to achieve their potential.

The text of the letter in full is below:

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22 November 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Jane Dodds is the first candidate in Wales to sign the Rural Powerhouse Pledge
  • Lib Dems condemn Farage refugee comment
  • Jo Swinson stands out as strongest voice of Remain

Jane Dodds is the first candidate in Wales to sign the Rural Powerhouse Pledge

Jane Dodds has become the first Parliamentary candidate in Wales to sign the Country Land and Business Association’s new Rural Powerhouse Pledge.

The CLA’s new campaign will see it write to every Parliamentary candidate in every constituency in England and Wales asking them to pledge support for the Rural Powerhouse.

The Rural Powerhouse pledge consists of five key themes: a fully connected countryside, …

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Thoughts on the tragedy of the 39 killed in the lorry

All reading this will have read about the tragedy of those who died in the lorry on the way to the UK.  These deaths have made the headlines because so many people died, all at once.  But there are deaths connected with trafficking every day that we don’t hear about.

This report from “Missing Migrants” shows the figures from around the world.   It gives the facts about the tragedies of desperate people trying to reach Europe bringing the total this year to 1090 deaths, out of 2063 worldwide this year.

There are also those who are trafficked here, and are victims of slavery.  Paul Vallely, writing in the Church Times, says “What if the 39 migrants had survived?”  A big question that isn’t being addressed.  There is no doubt that the outpouring of sympathy would not have been the same.  If they had been intercepted by the authorities they would have been treated badly, and probably detained, and “sent back to where they came from”.  They certainly would not have been able to work here.  Had the smugglers been successful, the migrants would have been subjected to being treated as human slaves here.  No rights; no documentation; no employment legislation; no decent housing.  

There are many examples, from the many recently reported, of how victims of trafficking have been badly treated in the UK after arriving here. It is criminal for our Government to send those who have been trafficked (and proved to be so) back to where they are so vulnerable to be trafficked again. Every possible effort must be made to stop the smugglers and their agents, who profit from trading human beings.

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17 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Another week begins, and the Press Team are back on the frontline.

I am reminded that press releases are not all that our Press Team do, thus what you see here is not a full reflection of their work. There are specialist press releases not necessarily appropriate for a wider audience, and the team work with editors and journalists to gain better coverage, or to bring issues to their attention, and support our Parliamentarians when they interact with broadcast or print media too.

Anyway, on with today’s selection for you to enjoy…

  • Lib Dems: Case for a People’s Vote has spread to very

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LibLink:: Christine Jardine: Refugees like Alan Kurdi are still dying in the Med

In her Scotsman column, Christine Jardine highlighted the plight of asylum seekers.

According to the group Medecins Sans Frontieres, there is now no search and rescue taking place in the Mediterranean. Only the Libyan coastguard is picking up people in its waters and taking them to detention centres. So far this year, it is estimated that 1,277 lives have been lost, many of them children. It’s only a little over three years since public opinion in this country and across the globe was outraged by the image of a toddler – three-year-old Alan Kurdi – lying dead in the breaking waves on a Mediterranean beach.

But when those hopeless faces of refugees off the Kent coast appeared on my TV screen this week, I had a moment of doubt. I’m not convinced we are currently living up to the reputation of those previous generations.

She also highlighted the plight of those who do make it here:

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Vulnerable people are being oppressed on our doorstep – by the British and French Governments

I’ve come back from the greatest emotional rollercoaster I’ve ever dealt with.

I spent three weeks in Northern France volunteering with an educational charity working in the refugee camps surrounding the channel ports.

It’s incredibly hard to believe but in Western Europe, merely a stone’s throw from the British coast, thousands of people are barely managing to survive, deprived of their basic rights, harassed by a supposedly progressive government and all for the crime of fleeing the most harrowing situations on the planet and trying to build a better life. And worse of all we’re paying for it.

Yes, really. British taxpayers’ money is being ploughed into the French riot police, the CRS, all in the name of ‘border security. They are using that money to make life a living hell for some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Whilst I was in France, volunteers were witnessing so called evictions on a daily basis.

This meant destruction of the little possessions that the refugees posses, rounding families up and abandoning them miles away from settlements in the middle of nowhere and often involved the use of tear gas against defenceless peaceful people.

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    Thanks for the well-informed comments. There is an implicit political point in the article (as opposed to a public policy point) which is that the media have pi...
  • Alison Willott
    We should say firmly that we want to rejoin the single market and customs union, to make a better future for our fishermen, farmers and businesses and reduce fo...
  • Barry Lofty
    Expats: You are probably correct in saying that returning to the EU fold will not be easy and yes we were a somewhat troublesome member which only goes to show ...
  • expats
    Joe Bourke 7th Dec '22 - 11:40pm.............UnBrexit referendum for November 1, 2023. The ReJoin vote wins”..... That, along with much of the 're-join' rh...
  • David Evans
    Joe, I don't know why you chose to mention it at all, but I think you have inadvertently missed out the most important part of the blog you refer to. Specifica...