I’m sure you’ve all heard about it. Last week, 294 MPs, my own included, voted against 3000 Syrian children coming to the UK. These children, minors I would like to add, are currently living in filthy and unsafe camps in Europe and barely have somewhere safe to rest their heads.
Could you imagine suddenly having to leave your home, everything you have ever worked for, grabbing your kids and running for your life with only the clothes on your backs and the belongings you could grab quickly? I couldn’t. I really couldn’t.
I can’t even begin to describe my fear at that very scenario. Where would we go? How would the two kids, only 3 and 1, cope with a death-defying trip across an ocean in a boat not fit for the channel then live in a camp, where disease and crime are rife. I would be devastated to think of my children alone and unable to fend for themselves in a strange country having fled the horrors of war, or worse, ending up in the hands of human traffickers.
On a recent visit to the Calais camp last month, the Guardian captured the bedlam, indecision and squalor experienced by the vulnerable children there – and the lack of any official assistance to help.
Many, and there’s no official number because we just don’t know how many there are, have already been kidnapped, sold, raped or disappeared into the hands of traffickers. These are children and NO MATTER where they are from should count.
Just to chuck a few numbers around; a third of the 420 unaccompanied minors in the Calais camp have gone missing since the French authorities demolished the southern section of the Jungle last month, according to a census by Help Refugees, a grassroots charity. In January, Europol warned 10,000 vulnerable children had vanished after arriving in Europe over the past two years. Germany also reported that almost 6,000 refugee children had been reported missing last year.
Yep, the camps are completely safe for these children…..
I find it darn right bewildering that anyone would think it acceptable that the UK sits by and does nothing to help these kids. There are tens of thousands of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe and we should play our part.
The new amendment proposed in the Lords (the Dubs amendment) is for the government to discuss with local authorities how many child refugees they could accommodate, rather than a fixed 3,000.
When I pitched this article to a friend or two they were completely outraged. Terms like “bursting foster care system”, “Europe could do more” and “it will cost too much money” were all banded about. What? When, as a nation have we ever put a price on a child’s life?
I thought we were for freedom. For democracy. Not this. When did we become a nation of such uncaring, heartless people? Is this why the Arab world hates us? Have we become a greedy power hungry people just out for ourselves? How much longer can we turn our backs on the rest of the world and say “sorry, nothing we can do” before it gets chucked right back in our face? This is our time. Our time to help and support those in a worst situation than ourselves.
And to those still doubting? I just hope, with my hand on my heart, that your kids are never in this position, and would hope that a well off country (as you put it) shows some compassion.
This shouldn’t be about money or politics. It should be about keeping every child safe and ensuring they receive the very best education and safe home life they deserve.
Sarah Brown recently wrote for mumsnet: “As long as this terrible crisis runs on and horribly on – then we have obligations to the children who are here in our continent. Our MPs now have a second chance to help these vulnerable children and we should help them to take it.”
So please, after you’ve picked your kids up from the school run, cooked them a nice warm meal and tucked them in for the night, sign this petition and ask your MP to support the latest amendment.