Green Party GREEN Party deputy leaders Dr Shahrar Ali and Amelia Womack recently travelled to Calais to meet refugees in the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp.
They have both spoken out against the ramping up of anti-immigrant rhetoric from the UK government in response to the humanitarian crisis, which has seen hundreds of migrants risk their lives attempting to reach Britain.
The visit saw them offer their support for the refugees and listen to their personal stories.
“It’s important to me to be able to hear the refugees’ side of the story first hand,” said Dr Ali.
“Too often they are vilified, seemingly to make it easier for the public to accept ever more brutal clampdowns on a small but vulnerable group of people.
“It is vital for politicians to remedy the inhumanity of this situation in pursuit of just and fair solutions.
“Instead of building stronger fences, our government must invest in ensuring that people seeking asylum are treated humanely and not left in limbo.”
Ms Womack added: “The language used by our government to demonise refugees affects not just those in Calais but the generations of refugees who have moved to the UK, settled here and contributed to our society.
“This is a humanitarian crisis and should be treated as such. The UK government needs to help to address the long-term problems that force people to flee their home countries by investing more in international aid and peacekeeping, and by committing to taking our fair share of the migrants who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea.”
As long as there are wars and violent regimes, countries deemed safer will be faced with a choice about whether to help or imprison those seeking asylum.
Now is the time to be active on the world stage. We cannot hide behind fences much longer.