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Where are the Syrians, David Cameron?

Syrian refugees,  Hegyeshalom, Hungary

1200 volunteers across the UK ready to take in refugees now
The UK must bring in a fair number of refugees, numbering tens of throusands

"I've never helped anyone in my life, but I have to do something to help. If someone says they are doing this for political reasons or a better job, they are lying..."

The words of an Austrian citizen who observed Syrian refugees walking through his town to get to Germany. He bought water bottles and humbly handed them out as the Syrian refugees walked on.
Please share widely and save lives - then ACT - see end of article for a range of actions.

Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) has a pool of 1200 empty rooms (and growing) and  houses available - by our refugee hosts all over Scotland, England and parts of Northern Ireland and Wales, and now increasingly France and spain, all offering to take in Syrian refugees NOW.  PAIH has been providing hosts for destitute refugees since 2004. We are deeply upset about the images we are seeing, again this is nothing new, in fact, there are more and worse images of children washed up on european shores. However, Facebook has banned these so as not to upset us. Us who have everything and more, who might want to share with those who have lost everything. People are telling us they want to do something. Here is what you can do now, every action here will contribute 100% to those in need. Every penny contributed goes directly to those in need.

The UK government has abjectly failed, despite making a commitment under pressure,  to meet a target of bringing in 500 refugees under the UK govt's Vulnerable Persons Initiative in the last two years. (He has brought in only 216). Now he says he will bring in 4,000 a year over 5 years. But if he can't achieve 500, how is he meant to bring in 4,000? This raises an important question about this UK Government's promises to aid Syrian refugees displaced by the conflict in their country. It is quite right to have a Vulnerable Persons Initiative to bring in children, victims of sexual violence. We need an additional aid operation to bring in refugees in general, in their tens of thousands. For example,  the Germans are set to bring in 800,000 this year , then 500K a year for several years after, with an efficient aid operation. One German volunteer said, "We can handle it".

We have seen the extraordinary scenes on TV. At Calais where people are forced to live in subhuman conditions. The sight of the abandoned truck on the Austrian Highway containing 71 decomposing bodies of Syrian refugees including babies, unrecognisable, fluid seeping from the rear doors. The 3 year old Syrian toddler found washed up dead on a Turkish beach along with his mother and baby brother. All the time, the BBC branding it with the red banner "MIGRANT CRISIS". Get your words right.

The aid agencies are at breaking point, running out of money to feed and shelter the 4 million refugees displaced in deteriorating conditions in camps for the last almost five years outside Syria. This is almost the population of Scotland. Syrians know they and their families could starve to death . Jordan is denying work permits to Syrians. Hence they are walking to Germany.

It has to be remembered that Syrian refugees are trying to escape terrorism.  The Syrians were displaced by fighting between Assad's forces and terrorists. Worse than that, the UK is saying, stay in the refugee camps in your tents where you have been for five years, but dont come into Europe. We will pretend to care with soundbites. Germany calls for a political solution and a humanitarian response to Syrian refugees. The syrians are in the way of bigger military objectives. Now Britain and France are planning to bomb Syria, displacing more refugees and emptying out the country, which begs the question Why?

Meanwhile the Hungarian PM has said outright that Muslim Refugees should not come to Hungary even though they want to head to Germany. Hungary of course is providing ideal concentration camp style conditions in an attempt to deter Syrian families from entering Hungary, leaving whole families with young babies to sleep in the cold and rain. The Hungarian Camerawoman who launched casual kicks at refugee children and a father who toppled over his young son, is this the humanity we are sanctioning? Hungarian police whipping men women and children indiscriminately. Britain and France have virtually sanctioned this behaviour by telling Hungary to control the borders. But when you are trying to save your children's lives nothing will stop you. 

People all over this country want to help and get back in touch with their humanity. We know deep down we cannot appreciate the luxury of jobs, homes, stability and routines while this human misery is happening. Does the UK government really think that it can shirk from its responsibility to take in a fair share of refugees? Can our consciences take it?

Right now, we won't be lining the streets to greet Syrians like Germany is. The few Syrians brought in by the UK government will be dispersed and disappeared into local authority arranged accommodation plus support. For example, Glasgow has 55 Syrian people under the Vulnerable Persons Initiative. It's as dull and bureaucratic as that, and our hearts die that little bit more while Germans talk about how they feel enriched and back in touch with their own humanity by adding to the voluntary aid effort.

So many thousands of citizens  in the UK want to help alongside the Germans, Austrians and Swedes. Our hands are being tied by the UK government.  This charity (PAIH) offers a small contribution to the voluntary aid effort.  1200 refugee volunteers and growing willing to provide refuge in their own homes . We are working with the scottish housing association movement to deliver a collective response to the Scottish GovernmentTaskforce, houses plus support. We have declining populations in rural areas where there is hundreds or more surplus housing stock - empty houses. Housing associations in other parts of the UK could also do the same.

We need the UK government to bring in the most vulnerable not just make hollow commitments about it through the Vulnerable Persons Initiative. We need the UK government to bring in Syrian refugees numbering tens of thousands. The UK should commit to bring in refugees now starting with the blockage at Calais. UK politicians may be scared to say the real numbers needed to ensure we takes our fair share of refugees. The starting number is probably nearer 250,000 refugees , only 0.5% of the UK population, nothing compared to developing countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon. Scotland could easily take in 25,000, 10% of the UK figure.

What You Can Do Now

  • Call on David Cameron to bring in more refugees:
  • Share this email through your networks, facebook, twitter.
  • Please watch this short clip about a Syrian family's journey to the heart of Europe 
  • Please watch this short clip of Hungarian nationalist TV camerawoman filmed casually kicking Syrian refugee children and their parents. Shamed in the eyes of the world. 
  • Please watch this short clip of Hungarian police beating and whipping refugee families and children indiscriminately . In their eyes Syrians are not humans. Should we allow this to go on and live normally 
  • Offer shelter or space in your home to a refugee  - With the ongoing refugee crisis, PAIH urgently needs volunteers to host refugees in their homes for temporary or longer period until they can resolve their crisis, if you are interested and have space to take someone in, please read the information pack and register as a host. It doesn't matter where you live, in Scotland or the rest of the UK, we are workign hard with oru refugee partners to match volunteers and refugees safely. Increasingly we have requests for support from across the UK. Here is a link to a story of a couple who took in A refugee two days ago

Refugee Crisis Appeal - Europe
This appeal is set up in response to Europe’s growing refugee crisis whereby the UK government is blocking entry to refugees trying to enter the UK and other European countries are trying to stop the movement of a small percentage of the world's refugees into Europe, especially from Syria and other countiries. Direct, targeted humanitarian emergency crisis grants for refugees in Calais and elsewhere in Europe, to aid the provision of food, shelter, clothing, medical supplies with an emphasis on the needs of children and similar humanitarian purposes, for example the cost associated with returning the dead to their loved ones for a dignified burial, and similar. There is also an expressed desire for civic society and individuals to contribute in some way to helping the plight of Europe's denied refugees, while developing countries take in the bulk of the world’s refugees. The whole amount donated to this appeal will reach those in greatest need, the costs of running the will be absorbed by our charity. Any donation no matter how small or large is gratefully received. Make a donation here, and add gift aid.

To donate regularly to PAIH's general work, contact PAIH

Emergency Hardship Fund - destitute asylum seekers - The whole amount donated to this appeal will reach those in greatest need. To donate to the PAIH emergency hardship fund for destitute asylum seekers click here. the fund mainly assists asylum seekers in Scotland but we will offer support across the UK.

Photo: Freedom House, some rights reserved. A man carries a child as he waits in line to board a bus organized by the Austrian government in Hegyeshalom, Hungary