Child Refugees

An open letter to Members of UK Parliament

In December 2015, most of you voted with the Prime Minister to scale up airstrikes against targets in Syria with the commendable though vague notion of ‘destroying ISIS’.  In reaching a decision I would like to believe you diligently considered the likely consequences of your actions including the direct impact on the lives of the men, women, and children who constitute the civilian population of that stricken country.

You will have already known from previous actions in, for example, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, that missile attacks and bombings are well established tactical means for forcing large-scale evacuation from a war-zone. I would be amazed, therefore, if your deliberations did not lead you to conclude that a significant number of people, terrified and homeless, would be likely to seek refuge in friendly countries throughout Europe.

Given that you considered all the implications very carefully indeed, and not just the obvious, it will have come as no surprise to be asked, a couple of months afterwards, to allow sanctuary for 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian refugee children.

On April 25th, a vote was called and instead of rubber stamping your approval, you chose to refuse them entry into the UK. It is unthinkable that you could have so readily forgotten your obligation. You are responsible for displacing those same children when you unleashed the machinery of war against them. Having been instrumental in blowing their homes to kingdom come, it was your duty to do all you could to provide them with a place of safety.

Whilst I understand the decision is currently in the process of being reversed, the fact remains you did shut the door on them in the first instance and you did so on your own recognizance; most certainly not in the name of the public you serve. It is no act of benevolence on your part that you have now been shamed into reconsidering.

Can we, your voting public, can we trust you? The simple answer is an emphatic, No! Not so long as Members of our Parliament, both collectively and individually, can so blithely shrug off responsibility for their actions.

© Rivenrod 2016 Picture: “The Blind Child” by Eve: Sweden. Find more of her work here

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