The images we are seeing across our TV screens and newspapers are horrific. They are the latest and most visible manifestation of a crisis that has been years in the making. The solution is not easy nor quick, however there needs to be immediate and rapid action across Europe to deal with the humanitarian situation.
David Cameron appears, slowly, to be bowing to public pressure, thanks to the millions of people nationally that have been raising this issue, including hundreds of my constituents that have contacted me directly. The lateness of the UK Governments response is quite frankly appalling. We opened our doors to refugees in previous times including the Jews fleeing Hitler and the Uganda Asians fleeing Idi Amin. Those people and their children have more than repaid their debt to our country; contributing economically, socially and culturally to our nation. We should do the same again for those now escaping war, violence, terrorism and rape.
Germany’s Angela Merkel has shown the way. Less able European countries such as Greece and Hungary have been bearing the brunt of the current crisis. Britain must meet it international responsibility and assist our European neighbours. I believe that the goodwill of the British public and our country’s great tradition of humanitarian support means that many people in the UK would want to offer the same welcome to refugees after the unimaginable hardship they have suffered.
This is not a debate about immigration. This is about some of the most vulnerable people in the world, risking their lives to escape terror.
I spoke to the leader of Hounslow Cllr Steve Curran yesterday evening and asked that Hounslow support at least ten refugee families. Today, the Council have said they are happy to accommodate the families if adequate funding is provided by the Government.
I have also signed a motion in Parliament calling on the Government to accept many more refugees, rekindle the spirit of the Kinder-Transport and offer fresh, innovative ways of dealing with the crisis, such as the creation of a Voluntary National Homes Register for those citizens both able and generous enough to help in the relocation effort. I will be in Parliament on Monday when the issue is discussed.
Many people are asking how they can help locally, as we want to be able to support refugees while they are waiting to get to their final destination and also once they arrive in the UK. From looking at the news feeds it would seem that financial support to those charities supporting refugees may be more helpful than donations of clothes, as the sheer volume of the of physical donations is proving difficult to manage.
There are many reputable charities supporting refugees that need extra funds to be able to support more desperate families which would welcome your donations. These include;
- Save the Children supports refugee children www.savethechildren.org.uk
- The British Red Cross http://www.redcross.org.uk/
- Migrant Offshore Aid Station runs rescue boats in the Mediterranean and have already saved 10,000 lives - Www.moas.eu