The Syrian refugee crisis is heartbreaking, but it is vital we look at the facts, if we are to find the right solution. Angela Merkel has accelerated the problem by saying if the UK does not take in more refugees, it will affect our attempt to change and improve the EU. This is playing politics with human tragedy.It is important to realise that the amount of refugees accepted by the whole of Europe is just a drop in the ocean, and isn’t really making much difference at all. An article in CityAM shows that out of 4 million refugees, “Europe’s figures all but disappear compared to Syria’s neighbours.” From the second chart in the CityAM article, Turkey has taken most refugees, followed by Lebanon, Iran, Jordan and Egypt.The scale of the crisis has to be a major factor in deciding on the right solution.
Looking at the bigger picture, it is shocking to discover that the six richest Arab states, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UEA, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, have not taken one refugee. These states have contributed financially, (UAE has funded a refugee camp) but refuse to accept refugees. However, their combined £589million donation total pales in comparison to the UK’s contribution of £918million
The Express reports: “Amnesty International’s Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights, Sherif Elsayid-Ali, said: “The records of Gulf countries is absolutely appalling, in terms of actually showing compassion and sharing the responsibility of this crisis… It is a disgrace.”
Arab expert Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi said: “The Gulf must realise that now is the time to change their policy regarding accepting refugees from the Syria crisis. It is the moral, ethical and responsible step to take.”
The Gulf states have argued that accepting refugees could threaten their national security given the possibility that terrorists could disguise themselves as refugees. This is a danger we also should not ignore.
The United States is also under pressure to do more. President Obama is being criticised because the States has only taken 1,500 refugees. He says that number will double by the end of the year, but in view of the scale of the problem, that is simply not enough.
Boris Johnson rightly argued in the Daily Telegraph that if we do nothing over Syria, we must prepare ourselves for an eternity of refugees. He acted swiftly to ask the London councils to calculate how many refugees they could take, as then did David Cameron. Fraser Nelson has written that Great Migration will be with us for decades.
The knee jerk reaction of John Mercer MP, based on emotionalism (“The Prime Minister attempted to get Commons clearance for Syria too, but was thwarted by a two-faced Ed Miliband, backed by a weak-willed Labour Party.) should be avoided. President Obama wanted to bomb Syria with UK help, and many Tories, and a huge public outcry, also opposed this on the grounds that Syrian civilians would be killed.
But Boris is totally right to say we should look at what more can be done in Syria. The UK and Europe must do what we all can for refugees, but never forget, what we are doing is miniscule compared to the scale of this humanitarian crisis. We cannot solve this on our own, and need a solution that fits the scale of the problem.