Union says UK has moral and legal obligation to receive refugees

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Unison, Refugees
Demonstrators march in support of refugees in Vienna. Photo: Wikimedia

Demonstrators march in support of refugees in Vienna. Photo: Wikimedia

UNISON’s general secretary Dave Prentis has launched an attack on the government’s insensitive attitude towards the refugee crisis in Europe.

The union is urging its 1.3 million members to contact their MPs to put more pressure on ministers and ensure that the UK does everything possible to help the thousands of families fleeing the violence in the Middle East and Africa.

Dave Prentis said: “The daily images of desperate men, women and children fleeing the escalating violence have shocked the world.

“Yet the government continues to display a completely insensitive attitude towards the refugee crisis. It is only through pressure that the Prime Minister has now reluctantly agreed to accept some refugees.

“It is inconceivable that the pleas of these desperate people should be ignored. We can no longer sit idly by. Thousands are risking their lives everyday to get to a place of safety. But if they survive the perilous journey, they are forced to wait in dire, inhumane conditions while Europe’s leaders argue about what must be done.

“The refugees have had no choice but to head to Europe and it is our duty to accept as many as we can and not criminalise them. The government must help find a solution to the crisis in Syria and Africa to avoid an even greater humanitarian disaster from happening.”

UNISON believes that the UK has both a moral and legal obligation under international and EU law to receive refugees and should significantly scale up its resettlement programme.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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