To refugee or not to refugee, that is the question
I guess the number one topic on most people’s minds these days is the issue of the refugees and what the UK should be doing in response, if anything. Well, without getting into the politics of this, it is right that The Bridge Trust should have an opinion at least, or maybe even a policy? I say this as it is feasible that refugees could eventually come knocking at our door as they could end up being homeless. I realise that I am stepping into dangerous waters here, with a topic that can be very divisive, but fortune favours the brave, so here goes.
Let’s start on some solid ground, with the definition of a refugee: “A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster”. Also, international law (set up just after the WW2) dictates, quite rightly that countries should protect and support these people as best they can. I don’t think that many even-minded people would be as cruel as to think it best to “pull up the drawbridge” and metaphorically or indeed literally, fend off their boats with long sticks and push them back out to sea. If we did this to the French, the Poles, the Czechs etc fleeing the Nazis during WW2 then we might have a very different country today as many of them went on to fly alongside the RAF to help us win the Battle of Britain!
However, before people start to bristle at this point of view, I think there is a key word missing here, that makes all the difference on this and that word is “genuine”. What I am talking about is genuine refugees, not anyone from anywhere in the world who just turns-up on our doorstep wanting us to give them a better life. Genuine refugees are genuinely in need of help. They are in their situation through no fault of their own and they are forced to leave their countries and are literally fleeing for their lives and any humane society must respond positively to them. As to those others who have come to be known as “economic migrants”, well that’s another topic for another blog maybe – I just want to stick with refugees for now, if I may.
So, as far as homelessness goes, anyone who is classified as a genuine refugee and given official status by being granted asylum, has the right to receive as much help as anyone of us gets from our country – including access to (depending on individual circumstances) housing and benefits if they need it. Therefore The Bridge Trust doesn’t need a “policy” on this at all as we will give them the same opportunity to access our supported accommodation and treat them with the same consideration, care and compassion as anyone else who comes to us for help. Not all UK citizens are homeless of course, and not all refugees will be either, but if any are unfortunate enough to be, then we will stand ready to help them as much as our resources allow.
P.S This website carries a translator that purposely includes Arabic.