Christian Activist: Calais and beyond
Vaughan Jones on the refugee crisis
The narrative from the most excitable sections of the media around recent developments in Calais has been clear: We are under attack. The security of the realm is at stake as thousands of migrants storm lorries and Eurostar to achieve what Hitler failed to do, shout the tabloids. The prime minister has described migrants as a “swarm”, with all the connotations of plague associated with it. Now there is a panic over new net migration statistics. Is it so simple? Is what is being said even true? Do we need an alternative perspective and approach?
In the grand scheme of things, Calais is a small problem. Effective processing of migrants with access to legal rights would mean that people did not have to risk all. It is all a matter of political will and common sense, both of which are in short supply at the moment.
The approach of the European Union is totally inadequate. As with the case of the Vietnamese boat people, there is a need for a coordinated international approach to the current crisis.
It is laudable that the EU has at least accepted that rescue is essential. There remains a heartless view that if people are allowed to drown, then it will discourage others. There is no evidence that that is true, but the very act of expressing such an opinion beggars humane belief…
This is an extract from the October 2015 edition of Reform. The article itself s taken from a longer paper called “Calais and Beyond: Responding humanely to the ‘migrant crisis’”, which is published online at http://bit.ly/ekmigrants. Vaughan Jones is a church minister and former CEO for Praxis – a charity that works with migrants. He is also a trustee of the Refugee Council and a company director for the Ekklesia thinktank