North Ayrshire & Arran MP Patricia Gibson has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons, expressing “extreme concern” over the refugee crisis that has seen more than 350,000 people flee war-torn countries, such as Syria, to seek safety in Europe.
The SNP MP lodged her motion after UK Tory Prime Minister David Cameron told the Commons his government was only prepared to accept an average of 4,000 refugees per year until 2020. In contrast, Germany has indicated it is prepared to offer sanctuary to 800,000 desperate refugees.
In her EDM, Mrs Gibson says Britain should be adopting a “similarly proactive role”, and calls on the Tory UK Government to “show decisive leadership to ensure the UK plays a full and active role in alleviating this escalating and tragic situation”.
The local MP later explained why she tabled the parliamentary motion, saying, “Far from being economic migrants looking to simply improve their circumstances in the UK, figures compiled by the United Nations show that 62-percent of those who had reached Europe by boat this year were from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan – countries ravaged by war and religious extremism.
“The scale of the suffering faced by those fleeing violence and barbarism is almost beyond comprehension. Driven by blind-panic and motivated by a desire to protect their families, they fall into the hands of villainous people traffickers who herd them onto crowded and dangerously unseaworthy vessels. The outcome is often depressingly predictable and leads to the sort of appalling images we saw in the media last week.”
Mrs Gibson noted, “Sickeningly, many continue to use dehumanising language to describe those seeking sanctuary. A well-known talking-head - who I refuse to mention - recently referred to refugees as ‘cockroaches’ – a term used by the Nazis to describe Jews in the 1930s – whilst our own Prime Minister chose to refer to the volume of refugees as a ‘swarm’. This sort of language serves only to remove the human element from the unfolding tragic story.”
While acknowledging the challenges faced by communities in North Ayrshire, the local MP said, “these pale in comparison relative to the scale of loss and suffering being experienced across North Africa and the Mediterranean.”
Calling on the UK Government to play a “serious role” in alleviating the refugee crisis, Patricia Gibson said, “I am confident that if we – along with our European neighbours – play our part, we can provide safe passage to those who simply want to have a life not lived in fear.”