Two million people have now fled the bloodshed in Ukraine and many more are expected to do so, it could be the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Seven decades ago, in 1951, after the horrors of the World Wars, the UK and other nations came together to sign the UN Refugee Convention. He clarifies that it does not matter how a person arrives seeking protection. What matters is why – escape from war, conflict and oppression.
Yet today we have a government that seems to show complete disregard for the convention. It does not give all Ukrainians fleeing violence the chance to come to our country as refugees (Priti Patel criticized for chaotic Ukrainian refugee policy, March 7). Instead, by setting up a limited, restricted family program and making a vague promise to establish some sort of humanitarian sponsorship program, his response seems chaotic, heartless, and mean.
At the same time, he is pushing ahead with his cruel Nationality and Borders Bill, which will undermine the right to refugee protection and criminalize Ukrainians, Afghans and others who through no fault of their own , are forced to make their way to safety and arrive without all the necessary documents.
It seems that the government has chosen to send a clear message to refugees from Ukraine and elsewhere that they are not welcome. Now more than ever, it is time to strengthen, not weaken, our commitment to the UN Refugee Convention and to ensure that those who have lost everything are protected.
Enver Solomon Refugee Council, Ben Jackson Asylum Reform Initiative, Jenni Regan Ito mix together, Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah Oxfam GB, Kirsty McNeill save the children, Sonya Sceats No torture, Beth Gardiner Smith safe passage, Tim Naor Hilton Action Refugees, Sabir Zazai Scottish Refugee Council, Nicole Francois Association of Immigration Law Practitioners and 34 others
Reading Simon Jenkins’ article (Ukrainian refugees, encounter Britain’s ‘hostile environment’. We should be ashamed, 7 March), I wondered why the UK government didn’t already have a procedure efficient, fair and objective approach to processing asylum applications. There is no excuse for its inadequate response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis. It has been self-sabotaged by a deliberately tangled legal and procedural approach to asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa.
He ignored calls from refugee rights advocates to open safe routes to the UK. Instead, it has spent the last 10 years trying to shirk its responsibilities under the refugee convention by introducing increasingly strict and inhumane policies that pander to ill-informed biases.
Now he is furiously trying to undo the cruel procedures he has put in place. He’s been trying to unlock a door that’s been locked for so long it’s rusty. I am appalled that it has taken another war to bring to light the government’s shameful treatment of refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
Last week, a neighbor of the small French village where I stay had just finished preparing her house for vacation rentals this summer. But she decided to talk to the mayor about the provision of Ukrainian refugees instead. A Ukrainian woman and her teenage daughter are moving in tomorrow.
Usclas d’Herault, France