I welcomed yesterdays Scottish parliament debate and the consensus that there was in the chamber. While I acknowledged that there are different views around this debate, although it is a minority of people who could be described as having such attitudes, it is for that reason that we need to continue to have this wider debate. We need to encourage discussion across the country so that, if there is any fear about the number of refugees who are coming in, we can have an open dialogue and remove that fear.
I stated that the image of a three-year-old boy lying dead on a beach in Turkey shocked the world but if anything good comes from the death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, his five-year-old brother and his mother, I hope and pray that it is that the world will act to help those who are fleeing persecution, conflict, generalised violence and human rights violations. The world is facing a global crisis on an unprecedented scale, with 60 million people displaced around the world. Around the country of Syria, there are 4 million refugees, of whom 2 million are children. We need to get across the point that half the world’s refugee population are children.
As well as stepping up to the mark and ensuring that the whole UK plays its role in welcoming refugees and ensuring that they have the right support and that the right resources and infrastructure are put in place to support them, we must, as the United Kingdom, lead the rest of the world in facing up to a global crisis that requires a global response.
I welcomed the consensus and the views that were expressed in our debate, but I have to wonder what the Scotland’s Parliament and Government will do to ensure that the UK Government and the British Prime Minister step up to the mark. We need to look at everything that we can do to ensure that.
You can watch my full Speech here: