We are devastated by the latest deaths in the Channel. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who died as well as with our own friends, colleagues and the people we work with here in Scotland who have faced life and death journeys themselves to reach safety or lost loved ones in similar tragedies.

The international refugee system has failed these people, and their loved ones, horrendously. The UK and international governments must urgently make safe routes to protection a reality. Nobody should be forced to risk their lives in order  to seek safety.

But people are desperate to escape violent conflicts around the world. People are desperate to save their children’s lives. So people will always try to reach a place of safety. Conflicts and wars are not going to stop overnight. Forced migration is not going to disappear. The UK Government must, as a minimum, take action to prevent future loss of lives. Today we call on the UK to

  • Commit to a global resettlement programme which brings 10,000-20,000 people to safety from conflicts around the world each year
  • Ease the strict rules around family reunion to allow more families to rebuild their lives in safety together
  • Developing a robust humanitarian visa scheme to allow people to travel in safety via mainstream routes rather than having to face dangerous, unofficial journeys

Please join us in urging the UK, Scottish and all governments to step up to the challenge of making sure people don’t continue to die while seeking safety. Please write to your MP, support the many charities working with people seeking refugee protection, and extend friendship and solidarity to people seeking safety here in Scotland and the UK.

A vigil will be held today (25 November) at the Buchanan Street steps.

Claire Thomson
Author: Claire Thomson