Tag Archives: Refugees

Vulnerable, terrified and alone – why I supported the Dubs amendment

Jo Cox vJo Cox speaks in the debate on Britain accepting 3000 child refugeesoted for the UK to help 3,000 vulnerable child refugees, who are alone in Europe and fleeing unimaginable horror in their own countries.

The Batley & Spen MP spoke in the debate on the Immigration Bill and in favour of the Dubs amendment.

The amendment was tabled by 83 year old Labour Lord Alfred Dubs, who arrived in the UK as a six year old child fleeing the Nazis.

Mrs Cox said: “The vast majority of the terrified, friendless and profoundly vulnerable child refugees scattered across Europe tonight came from Syria.

“As that conflict enters its sixth barbaric year, desperate Syrian families are being forced to make an impossible decision: stay and face starvation, rape, persecution and death, or make a perilous journey to find sanctuary elsewhere.

“Who can blame desperate parents for wanting to escape the horror that their families are experiencing?

“Children are being killed on their way to school, children as young as seven are being forcefully recruited to the frontline and one in three children have grown up knowing nothing but fear and war.

“Those children have been exposed to things no child should ever witness, and I know I would risk life and limb to get my two precious babies out of that hellhole.”

She told MPs that the latest estimates suggest that there could be up to 95,000 such children in Europe right now – four times more than was thought. Even if Britain did agree to take 3,000 of them that would just be three per cent.

Mrs Cox added: “Sadly the Government did not listen and Parliament rejected Labour’s attempts to force the UK to act.”

You can watch Mrs Cox’s speech by clicking here.  

News offers no new help to vulnerable child refugees alone in Europe

1204 FCO questions Syria aid drops 2crToday’s announcement that the government will take in 3,000 lone refugee children has been branded little more than a rehash of
old news by Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox.

Mrs Cox, a former aid worker, said: “Despite the fanfare, today’s announcement is a rehash of commitments that the Government made last January. There is nothing new here to address the crisis facing incredibly vulnerable, unaccompanied children who are in Europe and at risk right now.

“The latest estimates suggests that this year alone 95,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in Europe. This is three times what we thought the number was.

“The situation is far worse than we thought and our response is not good enough. It won’t involve more than a few hundred over the coming year and won’t help any children already in Europe.

Mrs Cox, who has been praised for her work in helping protecting civilians in Syria and fleeing the civil war, added: “This is a cynical attempt by the government to avoid defeat in the Commons on Monday when MPs will be asked to vote on an amendment that would led to the UK taking 3,000 vulnerable lone children immediately.”

September column: Refugee crisis

Jo Cox writes a column every month for the Dewsbury Press. This is the column for September, published today.

The image will haunt me. The limp body of an innocent three year old little boy washed up by the tide on a Turkish beach. I had just tucked up my own precious babies with their favourite teddy and a good night snuggle and those heart wrenching images of a stolen childhood ripped through my conscience.

It shouldn’t take this level of human tragedy, captured in such a heart-breaking image, to force governments to act. But having worked on humanitarian crises for many years as an Oxfam aid worker – I know all too well that sadly sometimes it does.

What’s happening in Syria is at the same time incredibly complex and yet very simple. A human tragedy has been unfolding there for the past few years on a scale not seen in Europe since the Second World War.

The barbarism of ISIS is second only to the horror inflicted on Syrians by President Assad.  Together it means innocent civilians dying in the most horrific ways. To escape this, desperate parents – like those of three year old Aylan Kurdi and his five year old brother Galip – are forced to make choices that no mum or dad should have to take. To risk the lives of their most beloved on a rickety, over-crowded boat in the hope of sanctuary and a future in Europe or to remain in a war torn, broken country or under a tarpaulin tent watching your kids get thinner day by day and your hope ebb away.

This then pushes the world’s most desperate people into the hands of the vile, predatory human traffickers who deal only in death and misery.

Britain, and indeed the rest of Europe, must remember their consciences and answer the plea of the Syrian people.

It is shameful that Britain, with our long and proud tradition of helping refugees – and who wrote the rules on how to help refugees in the forties, has helped just 216 Syrian refugees since March last year. To put that in context: over the same period the German government chose to help 30,000 and the Turkish government, and many Turkish families, are sheltering almost two million Syrians.

Yet our Prime Minister has shamefully refused to do more until this week, a point I made when I raised it with him at PMQs this week. After a public outcry he was forced to offer sanctuary to 4,000 refugees a year over five years. It is a start but nowhere near enough. We must build upon the bold and generous responses from communities and Councils all across the UK, including here in Kirklees. We must also press the PM to support a bold, ambitious EU response when he meets European leaders next week.

For too long, this Government has ignored the worsening crisis in Syria such that it has now become the biggest humanitarian emergency in our lifetime. If we don’t act urgently the cost in human, social and financial terms will be far greater down the line. There’s no better way to prevent the refugee crisis than tackling that which is forcing Syrians to flee.

Like most politicians, I entered politics to help those most in need and right now I can’t think of anyone more needy than a terrified Syrian toddler and their family floating on a perilous sea desperately hoping that her cry for help will be heard.