Thursday, 26 November 2015
No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here
The St Andrew's Day Anti-Racism March and Rally this year has the theme 'No Racism: Refugees Welcome Here.' The rally will take place on Sat 28th Nov, Assemble 10:30am Glasgow Green. Below is a Guest Blog from Nicola Sturgeon MSP, the First Minster of Scotland on the importance of this March.
In September, just before a humanitarian summit on Scotland’s response to the refugee crisis I had the opportunity to sit down for a cup of tea with people who have made their home in Scotland after fleeing persecution and war in their own country.
As we talked, it became apparent that they had been made to feel extremely welcome in Scotland and all of them were keen to contribute positively to society. Later, some gave powerful testimonies in the summit itself, describing how they had brought their families here to make a new home.
Listening to their stories, it was clear that the decision taken by these people to leave their own countries had not been an easy one. Anyone who risks taking their family on what can be a treacherous journey does not do so without having exhausted all available options at home.
That is why we must recognise that the desperate situation in which people arriving on Europe’s southern shores find themselves is a humanitarian crisis. These people come to Europe and the United Kingdom, not to “scrounge from our welfare state” or “steal our jobs” but because they have no choice if they want to keep their families safe.
In responding to this humanitarian crisis, I have made it clear that we stand ready to accept our fair share of refugees. Indeed, we expect to take around a third of the total number coming to the UK before Christmas.
That has meant an immense amount of work by local authorities and other partners such as the Scottish Refugee Council and the STUC, to ensure that those arriving in Scotland are able to integrate successfully into society.
But it has also demonstrated the wider desire, across Scottish society, to pitch in with practical help to some incredibly vulnerable people. We have been inundated with offers of support from members of the public, businesses and organisations from all parts of Scotland.
All of this has meant that, as the first people seeking refuge from the war in their own country have begun to arrive in Scotland, they have been assured of a very warm welcome.
First Minister of Scotland