Media Release | Exeter Labour Party call for Europe-wide agreement on refugees

Media Release | Exeter Labour Party call for Europe-wide agreement on refugees
For immediate release

Last night the General Committee of Exeter Labour Party expressed its horror at the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding across Europe at a scale not seen on our continent since the Second World War.

Following the daily reports of millions of refugees fleeing violence and persecution, Exeter Labour Party noted that some western countries, which have done so much to create the problems in the Middle East and beyond, are now trying to shut their borders.

In proposing an emergency motion, Hannah Packham  said:
“No one can fail to be moved by the horrific scenes we are witnessing. Refugees fleeing violence and persecution need our support. These are mothers, brothers, fathers, cousins, daughters. It is not good enough for the Tory Govt to claim they are doing enough – quite evidently they are not”.

Seconding the motion, Paul Bull drew attention to the on-line petition calling on the Government to accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK [1]:
“The response to this petition is phenomenal. I’ve worked on such a petition concerned with Welfare Reform and I took almost  a year to get the 100,000 signatures required to get the Benchback Business Committee to consider the topic for debate in the House of Commons.

“When I signed the petition at 8:30 yesterday morning, 75,000 had put their name to the petition – and late last night that figure had risen to over 315,000”.

Contributing to the debate, Ben Bradshaw congratulated Yvette Cooper’s speech [2] on the European refugee crisis, commenting: “I have been calling for action and leadership on this issue and I am pleased that Yvette has spoken out following the shameful inaction of David Cameron.

“We have a proud tradition in Britain of providing refuge for people fleeing war and persecution,” he said. “Given the crisis stems in part from the Government’s failures in Syria and Libya, we have a particular responsibility to play our part

Exeter Labour Party members welcomed the statement by Labour Leader, Cllr Pete Edwards [3], that Exeter City Council are keen to work with the Home Office and other local authorities throughout the South West to support refugees and people seeking asylum.

Members felt that frontline countries such as Greece and Italy cannot be expected to provide for all those seeking asylum and called on the Labour movement and all decent people to demand each European country should takes its fair share of refugees.

Mention was made of the activities of Exeter Calais Solidarity and their collection of useful things to take to the NGO Auberge des Migrants, who work with refugees in Calais [4]

Also mentioned was the crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the journey to Calais [5].

Kate Hannan, Equalities Officer for Exeter Labour Party said: “The scheme was set on Tuesday 01 September with the aim of raising £400 to cover a trip to ‘The Jungle’ to deliver men’s clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, blankets, shoes, hygiene and medical supplies, cooking pots and stoves.

“Within hours they exceeded their target and funds are still pouring in.”

The meeting suggested that a formula, based on factors such as national income, population size and land mass, could be to calculate how many refugees and asylum seekers each country could take in.

After a unanimous vote, Exeter Labour Party now calls upon our Labour Party in Parliament to demand a European-wide agreement in which each country commits to take in its full quota of refugees and people seeking asylum.

ENDS

Notes to editors:
[1] Petition to UK Government and Parliament – Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK – currently stands at 418,092 signatures 
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105991

[2] Yvette Cooper MP: Speech on European Refugee Crisis http://www.yvetteforlabour.co.uk/speech_the_european_refugee_crisis

[3] Exeter City Council: Media release – Exeter pledges support for refugees and people seeking asylum [04 September 2015] 
http://apps.exeter.gov.uk/dnRSS/ShowMediaReleases.aspx?ID=1906

[4] Exeter Calais Solidarity Collection
https://www.facebook.com/events/124014191283555/

[5] Exeter Calais Solidarity Crowdfunding Site
https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Totnes

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