Saturday, January 09, 2016

Refugees from Syria - Should the UK do More (2)?

Interesting to read my previous blog post of about a year ago when considering this question again. The previous post is at: Syrian Refugees and the UK (1)

Since then tragically there have been bombings in France and elsewhere in Europe and more recently the dreadful   new year attacks on women in Cologne, Munich and  in  some other European countries. Of course the UK has many indigenous criminals including those who attack women and children. Nonetheless the new year atrocities particularly in Germany appear to go beyond those in a number of ways. For example there seemed initially to be a reticence about reporting them whereas usually there is no such reticence in the media  about reporting and commenting upon individual crimes of that nature in the UK. Also even more worryingly is the report that more than individual criminal acts were involved. Rather large numbers of  North African men seem together to have threatened women in Germany causing many to  take shelter fearing for their safety. Add to that the reported reluctance of the police to take the necessary action which has now apparently led to the Cologne police chief  taking early retirement I begin to wonder if my earlier blog post (see above) is correct.

Of course genuine  refugees have to be accommodated. However in addition to the above concerns is the report that by far the majority of the North African migrants from Syria, other North African countries and elsewhere for example Afghanistan, are young men. Previously my assumption had been that there was little difference between the number of men and women among those seeking refuge in Europe and the UK  from conflicts in these countries. That assumption reportedly is sadly quite out of line with the reality which adds to the need to review my thoughts of January 2015.

Looking at the situation from the biblical viewpoint there is the parable of the Good Samaritan.

 However in that parable (Luke 10:25-37New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition) the issue appears to be one of having regard to and helping the individual in need who one comes across whilst on one's own way rather than supporting an huge number of prospective migrants. There is also the parable of feeding the 5,000 (John 6:1-14)which may be interpreted as the importance of sharing food and sustenance rather than hoarding for oneself .

Additionally there have been TV reports of hideous sieges in several Syrian towns by various factions there resulting in the starvation of thousand of children women and men. These horrors have only recently come to light at least to me but thankfully it does seem that the UN has negotiated some kind of food relief operation there which is now ongoing.

Having reflected further especially in the light of recent hideous events both in Europe and the Middle East my view now is that the UK is right to be  discerning about  the refugees it admits to this already crowded country.

From the ongoing debate about whether the UK should leave or remain in the EEC (which warrants separate blog posting from this one) I note that last year,  the  balance between the numbers leaving the UK and entering long term from the EEC, resulted in an increase in the net population of the country by c. 300,000 people. This does not of itself mean in my view that the overall numbers to be admitted as refugees from places like Syria should be further restricted. Nonetheless the issue that still remains is what might be the correct political reaction to the hideous plight of millions affected grotesquely by ISIS?

My view now is that the decision to admit refugees directly from encampments in Syria Turkey and Lebanon rather than taking in the millions who are strong and wealthy enough to make their own way out of their  country's plight would be correct.

The issues of age and gender imbalances could then also be tackled by the UK government  offering far more refuge to women and their children and sadly to  the many children alone that there appear to be, along with elderly woman and men, than to the young men who seem hugely disproportionately to form the majority of those making their own way to Europe and incidentally causing so much trouble to the indigenous young women on New Years Eve.

In addition to the UK welcoming refuge to far more Syrian and Iraqi women and children directly from the affected areas than we have done to date. this country should continue with its policy of providing   generous (at least when compared with other European provision) financial aid directly to the affected  peoples. To date we can be relatively proud of the latter but surely there is room for some if not huge, improvement as regards the former?

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