Billy Bragg appeared on last night’s Question Time, highlighting our duty to take in refugees after only 350 child refugees were able to be taken in under the Dubs amendment. We individually have a humanitarian obligation to this earth, and respecting other human beings is part of that duty, wherever we come from.
The Dubs amendment was intended to relieve the humanitarian crisis that is the displacement of people, and this country’s reticence towards introducing them into our country. The amendment initially looked like a solution, but it’s of no surprise that its cracks began to surface. It could be said that having such an open door to child refugees may not only encourage them to risk their lives reaching Europe, but leave them vulnerable to traffickers. But then again, not helping these children at all is just as dangerous.
The government purportedly still wish to take in thousands more child refugees. This is clearly rather sensationalist after halting a great way to accept said refugees. 350 children seems a lot in terms of finding appropriate housing and education, but what about the other 2,650+ children who might have expected to be offered refuge? The government has sincerely let these children down by no longer following the amendment through. My favourite description of this ridiculous decision is from Christian Aid as “not only a broken promise to vulnerable children, but a rejection of our international responsibilities”.
I believe that the amendment was the right thing to implement by Lord Dubs in the circumstances, but it still remains valid. Why this particular amendment to the Act should have a time limit is base, and contrary to the government’s intention to adhere to the word and spirit of the amendment. As Yvette Cooper stated, “no one ever suggested we would only help children for a few months then turn our backs especially when the global refugee crisis shows no sign of abating”.
Cooper also questions whatever happened to the commitments of the government to ending modern slavery and human trafficking. As aforementioned with trafficking, children who are found between “a rock and a hard place” as rightfully described by Bragg are most likely to be subject to modern slavery now. We’ve seen enough human beings sacrifice their lives to simply travel from one country to another, so what’s to say that child refugees will not keep putting their life on the line for some degree of sanctuary, however doubtful?
While our MPs seem to be more concerned with the economic state of our country, we as citizens cannot lose sight of what is important. To dismiss the urgency of the refugee crisis and instead prioritise Brexit is abhorrent while such a crisis is ongoing, and I anticipate the results of the legality of the decision to overturn the Dubs amendment.
I know that this country is home to some of the most open-minded and empathetic individuals some of whom are not even British nationals. But how are we to exercise our compassion towards the vulnerable if our government is a barrier? Relying on men and women in suits to hazard an attempt at being empathetic for the welfare of others is laughable really.
Whatever your moral compass, we could all do with pondering the question posed by Bragg: what kind of people are we?