A KIND-HEARTED Evesham woman has called on council chiefs to welcome refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria
Emma Nishigaki joined hundreds of people from across the UK in starting a petition calling on the Vale to provide a safe haven for those fleeing the conflict.
She was inspired to act after seeing the image of lifeless Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi on the Turkish coast.
Areas including Calais and Budapest have been inundated in recent weeks with migrants trying to reach Western Europe.
“The picture of drowned toddlers was the turning point for many. They say a picture creates a thousand words and this simple symbolic image brought the situation into the homes and minds of everyone,” Emma told the Observer.
“The majority of the population seem to spout rhetoric about refugees being ‘scroungers’ or ‘ISIS infiltrators’.
“They seem to think that just because we have needy of our own in the form of the disabled and homeless that we should ignore the plight of these stateless people.
“These people are, in the main, educated wealthy people. They don’t need money or benefits; they need a place of safety,” she said.
Her plea came in the week Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the UK would accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.
Mr Huddleston praised the Prime Minister for making the statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday (September 8), the first sitting day after summer recess.
“The Prime Minister made it clear that Britain can hold its head up high in terms of our record on accepting refugees and international aid,” Mr Huddleston said.
“It’s simply not true to say the UK is not doing enough. In many ways we are doing far more than many other European countries.
“More than 300,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year and some of the pictures we have seen on our television screens and in newspapers have been deeply shocking.
“With that said I strongly believe a cautious approach is needed and governments in the west must be wary of the unintended consequences of their actions – acting with head as well as heart.
“I believe the Government’s approach of taking refugees from Syrian camps rather than those already in Europe to be the right one.
“This is clearly a difficult and emotive issue but we must not do anything to encourage people to risk the hazardous journey to Europe which has tragically cost so many lives, or indeed to provide further opportunities for those traffickers profiting from human misery,” he added.
Visit www.you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/refugees-welcome-in-evesham for more information on Emma’s petition.