Tuesday, 24 November 2015

No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here

The St Andrew's Day Anti-Racism March and Rally this year has the theme 'No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here.' The rally will take place on Sat 28th Nov, Assemble 10:30am Glasgow Green. Below is a Guest Blog from Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats on the importance of this March.

In recent years we have made substantial progress towards tackling prejudice and our country is a better place as a result.

But attitudes towards those seeking sanctuary in our country have been slower to change.

Too many people still view refugees as an unnecessary burden. With the Prime Minister and tabloid headlines warning of “swarms” of migrants coming to our shores, it is easy to see how these views can persist.

The refugee crisis is the biggest humanitarian challenge that Europe has faced since 1945. Our response to the crisis needs to match the scale of this challenge.

And just as we speak out against racism, we need to ensure that we are challenging those who would see us ignore our obligation to help.

We must not allow those who would use this tragedy as an excuse to pull up the drawbridge to win the argument.

We must not let prejudice and small-mindedness prevent us from helping people who need our support desperately.

The failure of the UK government to accept more than a fraction of the refugees we should be helping is enormously disappointing.

Britain has always been a country that welcomed refugees, from those fleeing religious persecution in the 17th century, to the children saved through the kindertransport ahead of World War II. Now is not the time to abandon these historic values.

We can do more to help. We must do more to help.

It is down to all of us who would see us react to the refugee crisis with tolerance, openness and compassion to speak with one voice and send a strong, clear message.

Refugees are welcome here.

Willie Rennie MSP
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

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