Greenock Telegraph 14th August 2020

I was delighted to read in the Greenock Telegraph (10th August) about the Al Allouh family and how they have found ‘safety and freedom’ in Inverclyde. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to flee a war zone. How terrible must it be before deciding that you must leave your own country and everything that is familiar to you. And what courage must it take to face the dangers and uncertainties that such an action will undoubtedly invoke. Inverclyde Council have done a magnificent job, housing and supporting nearly 40 families and providing a haven where their children can grow and gain an education.

Conversely, the UK Government is now utilising the Royal Navy to intercept people fleeing persecution and death, people risking everything in rubber dinghies attempting the perilous crossing of the English Channel, often containing young children huddled close to terrified parents. And the UK is sending them back to France. Those that would turn their back on these refugees often wrongly assume that refugees should seek refuge in the first country they come to. The United Nations Refugee Convention does not make this requirement and UK case law support this interpretation. Understandably many of them want to put as many miles as possible between them and the troubles they are fleeing from.

As the Proclaimers say in their song Scotland’s Story “All through the story the immigrants came, the Gael and the Pict, the Angle and Dane, from Pakistan, England and from the Ukraine, We’re all Scotland’s story and we are all worth the same.” Inverclyde should be proud to add Syria, Afghanistan and Sudan to that list.