Congress supported a call from Aberdeen Trades Union Council amongst others to support refugees and those seeking asylum is Scotland, and called for the UK and Scottish Government to welcome more refugees than currently planned.
Speaking on behalf of the ATUC, Kevin Hutchens focussed on the plight of refugees stranded on the borders of Europe. He told delegates that what is shown on TV is only a small part of the human tragedy that is taking place daily. Systems for receiving and dealing with people needing international protection are not working or absent.
Kevin said, “On Lesvos conditions have been deteriorating at the Mona Hotspot Facility which, since 20th March has been used to detail people pending a decision on deportation.
“There are at least 2,300 people there, above the stated capacity of 2,000. People are sleeping in the open and there is not enough food.”
Kevin added that there is similar overcrowding on Samos, and on the border with Macedonia at least 11,000 people have been sleeping in the open for many weeks, “fuelling hopelessness and despair.”
“Aid and Refugee agencies including Oxfam and the International Rescue Committee have rightly accused the UK Government of failing in its responsibilities to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people displaced by conflict, violence, persecution and poverty.”
Kevin pointed to the recently published, “A Safe Haven” which lays out the steps the UK needs to take to respond to the global displacement crisis. This includes expanding safe and legal routes to protection in the UK; improved humanitarian response in Europe, including humane reception conditions at borders; and improved conditions in countries hosting displaced people.
“Passing this composite helps support these demands but also creates acceptance in Scotland,” said Kevin, calling on us all to accept and support the composite, “For the sake of all the dispossessed across the world.”
“Humanity demands nothing less!