Tag Archives: roger roberts refugees

Roger Roberts writes: We need to change our culture and welcome people here

It is essential that we keep focused on Syria, because it is possibly the greatest humanitarian tragedy since the Second World War. In a message only this week, a girl, Siham, who was in the Aleppo hospital and was suffering from 70% burns, said, “Please let it be over now. We have to find a way out. We’ve had all we can take”. Seven years of civil war have slaughtered 500,000 of the country’s most vulnerable people and driven nearly 12 million Syrians from their homes, with many thousands more missing.

A few weeks ago at Westminster, we had a coach-load of the wives of some of those who are missing in Syria. They did not know whether their husbands were alive, whether they had been tortured or killed. This very week I had a group of 10 young Syrian refugees here at Westminster. They were glad to be here on an English language course, which of course is essential. We shared many of their problems, from accommodation to the need to learn English so that, if the opportunity comes—and I hope it will be made available in legislation very soon—they will be able to take up a job here in the UK.

Mesopotamia was once the cradle of civilisation, yet now of those cities which were part of our historical legacy all we have is pictures of destruction. That irreplaceable heritage is no longer secure and important historical and cultural landmarks, of which Palmyra is one, are being reduced to rubble. Not only are the buildings being reduced to rubble, but the psychological effects on those who lived there or live there still, especially the children, has yet to be contended with. People will be scarred for the remainder of their lives.

Every child should share the right which we enjoy to have a balanced life with opportunities and with laughter—a life where people say, “I believe in you; I have faith in you; you have got a potential there”. Of course, that does not happen. It is a complete violation of everything in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, whether the outrages come from the ruling regime or opposition forces. A time must surely come when those who are responsible for such outrages will be prosecuted for war crimes.

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Thelma Davies
    @Nonconform. I'm stating that it's my responsibility & my husband's that my children were toilet trained & had basic reading and writing skills prior to...
  • Mary ReidMary Reid
    @Simon Atkinson - I am so pleased you like our musings on Max's impact within and beyond the party. And please accept my sympathies to the whole family for the ...
  • Chris Moore
    @ExLD Leeds: that's a ludicrous reason not to vote LD. Theakes is in a vanishingly tiny minority regarding the desirability of PR, as you must well know. LDs...
  • Mary ReidMary Reid
    @David Raw - yes, you can register as an online member and vote for £20. I did it last time and it worked well. And anyone can watch it for free on the Lib Dem...
  • Simon Atkinson
    Thank you so much for these wonderful comments everyone, and for the smashing tribute, Mary. He would have been so chuffed to read your kind words. Max wasn't a...