Refugees who reach Europe should be “able to settle in all EU member states” according to senior Green Party figures.
The heart-breaking picture of a dead three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach is generating loud calls for EU states, especially the UK, to do more to end the crisis.
Natalie Bennett, the Leader of the Green Party said:
“We have to acknowledge that this is a crisis that needs a European – indeed eventually a global – response.
"We’re in a situation like that in the 1970s, with the refugees from IndoChina, for whom the world found 2.5 million new homes. It happened imperfectly, slowly, not entirely adequately, but it happened. The grandchildren of those refugees are now established, secure, valued members of societies around the globe.
“The UK must do everything in its power to help the most vulnerable and we should abandon the fiction of our own utterly risible “vulnerable Syrians” programme (at last count helping 216 refugees) and sign up to the UN scheme to help the most vulnerable.
“And in terms of a Europe-wide response, we should not be the foot-draggers, not be the resistors, but instead follow the German leadership in demanding a programme to ensure that those refugees who reach European soil are able to settle in all EU member states– with Britain taking its reasonable share considering both our population and relative wealth.”
Caroline Lucas MP said:
“The heart wrenching scenes we’re seeing– of children being washed up dead on beaches, of people being detained en masse on trains, of thousands upon thousands risking their lives to come to Europe – serve as a reminder of our duty to help those in peril however we can.
“We have the capacity to take more refugees in Britain, but the Government lacks the will to do what’s right. Indeed David Cameron’s reluctance to give a home to those in need is a damning indictment of his administration’s pernicious attitude to those fleeing atrocities in other countries. When our Prime Minister’s only real action of note is to fund higher fences in Calais, it’s clear he’s lost all perspective of the gravity of the situation.
“Britain can and must do more – it’s time for the Government to wake up to the cruelty of its current stance and give many more refugees the chance to settle here.”
The Green Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Tony Clarke, suggests several steps to alleviate the crisis, he said:
“The UK could divert the money wasted on security and borders and use it to establish a properly managed and funded resettlement scheme and EU states should now accept that those already in their countries should have the right to remain and stop wasting money on chaotic appeal processes.
“Secondly those entering the EU should be diverted to new properly managed migration centres, able to cope with the tens of thousands individually and the hundreds of thousands in total who are displaced and migrating on an annual basis.”