Tim Farron: Government ignoring Calais humanitarian crisis

August 5, 2015 2:43 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron visited the Jules Ferry refugee camp in Calais yesterday (Tuesday 4 August) to learn about the humanitarian work of the UNHCR and Medicins du Monde.

On his visit he met a 14-year-old boy who had escaped Syria and was being treated for two broken legs. The boy was on his own - and was among a number of young men and boys who had fled Syria and North Africa. He had been injured trying to get into Britain.

He also spent time with British medical workers treating refugees and with volunteers providing food. Around 3,000 people are camped on the outskirts of the town with hundreds attempting to cross the channel each day.

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Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said:

"We must combat the criminals and gangs and make sure our borders are secure. But we must not let those people overshadow the desperation and horror of people fleeing war and persecution.

"The collective failure of EU member states to deal with this crisis in the Med has led to immeasurable suffering and contributed to the devastating situation we now see in Calais.

"Our country has always been generous, open-hearted and compassionate, and people need our help.

"Britain can't escape the problem. It's time we met our obligations on the world stage and accept vulnerable refugees from Iraq, Syria and Eritrea.

"We must recognise what we can do to help, support the French process asylum applications and provide decent standards of welfare and accommodation for refugees.

"While the Government is focussing on building bigger fences and bolstering security, we cannot ignore the humanitarian crisis.

"Tear gas and dogs will never solve the problems that these people are facing, and we should not turn a blind eye to their suffering."

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