Earlier today, shadow human rights minister Andy Slaughter held a debate on assistance to refugees in Calais in Westminster Hall in Parliament. Minister Richard Harrington attended and was given the opportunity to respond to Mr Slaughter’s questions.
Mr Slaughter – who said the number of British volunteers helping at the Jungle was ‘to our country’s credit‘ – visited the Jungle in late December following an invitation from one of his constituents who volunteers
Speaking about the volunteers, many of whom he met, Mr Slaughter said –
They are simply people who saw a humanitarian crisis and wished to assist there. But that is the limit of the support that has been given so far to those refugees.
He went on to describe the conditions in which so many thousands of refugees are living –
The Jungle camp sets out from under a motorway bridge, it’s in an old landfill site, it has asbestos lying around, it’s waterlogged, there’s mud everywhere, there are chemical plants on either side of it. There is a chronic state of illness that ranges from respiratory disease to scabies to very serious illnesses, such as tuberculosis. The facilities there are simply not able to cope.
Mr Slaughter highlighted the political difficulties major charities and the UN face in trying to assist refugees in the camp. Because Help Refugees is a comparatively new organisation that was set up to address this very problem, we are able to work in the camps in Calais and Dunkirk and to make an immediate and real difference to the lives of refugees.
You can watch the full debate here –
Image: Westminster by Jlhopgood on Flickr
We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.
Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!