Wednesday, 05 August 2020 00:22

EU refugee crisis: World mourns Syrian toddler as Andy Burnham calls for emergency Parliament debate

Thursday, 03 September 2015

As the world reacts to the image of the dead three-year-old, police leave the main station in Hungary's capital where refugees are sleeping outside.

Labour is urging a Cobra meeting to be held after Andy Burnham called for an urgent parliamentary debate earlier today.

Jeremy Corbyn, another Labour leadership contender, has called for a much bigger and much "stronger global response to deal with the issue of instability and desperation of people all around the world".

Meanwhile in France, François Hollande is to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on the migrant crisis this afternoon with "all ministers concerned", the Elysée palace announced.

Boris Johnson has reacted to the image of Aylan Kurdi and described it as a "very, very shocking image", writes Henry Samuel in Calais.

"It’s very difficult; we have to address the problem at the source and stop people coming like this, but certainly if people are really in need and are scared for their lives, we must receive them," he said.

It's is very difficult because we mustn’t create the feeling around Europe in all these zones where there are problems that they can get here without any problem. We mustn’t created a pull factor and that’s the problem now, we must distinguish between those who are really scared of persecution and those who are migrants looking for a wealthier life."

"We must above all be very clear with people who want to come from these countries that it’s not an Eldorado here, it’s not simply a question of turning up and receiving benefits. And I fear that if we don’t make this clear then we will create the conditions for migration to continue and increase."

“Let us not forget that the fall of the Roman Empire was down to immigration. Massive movements of people in the end is not sustainable.”

Supporters of the Hungarian right-wing extremist Jobbik party rally in Röszke at the Hungarian border fence with Serbia demanding a crackdown on refugees wishing to cross the border

On David Cameron’s plans to give up to six months jail terms on those smugging illegal migrants in the UK, he said: “I think it’s a good idea. There are people who profit from misery, who profit from death, you saw the images this morning, they are inviting very poor people to commit suicide in boats, we have to fight that.”

But don't compare this crisis to the Second World War: "Today’s movements of people cannot be compared to the Second World War - it was far greater, as there were millions of people, but it’s a very big crisis. We have to address the problem at the source, when we see what is going on Syria, we must do more. I don’t know why we can’t create some sort of exclusion zone."

A majority of French are against their country receiving migrants - either economic or refugees - seeking to reach the EU," according to an Elabe poll published by BFMTV this morning.

When asked the question: "Should France welcome a share of "migrants and refugees currently trying to reach the EU, notably from Syria?", some 56 per cent said "no".

"Genuine refugees should be taken from camps outside of Syria so they don't have to make the perilous journey," he said.

"Where have the Government been whilst this tragedy has been unfolding all summer? The Government needs to change its policy today and present its plan to Parliament."

There is more pressure on David Cameron to take action on the refugee crisis, writes Christopher Hope, Chief Political Correspondent.

Tory backbencher Jeremy Lefroy said he also believed the UK needed to take in more refugees.

Writing on his website, the Stafford MP said Mr Cameron was right to stress the importance of tackling the causes of the crisis, but the numbers being accepted by Britain should also be higher.

"The UK has been over centuries an open and welcoming country to those in peril and this should be no exception. At the same time, we can work with the United Nations and our European partners to develop the 'safe havens' closer to the countries in conflict, as Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister, has called for.

"I have little doubt that, throughout our generous country, there are very many people and groups willing to offer help and hospitality to refugees. If they were widely spread throughout hundreds of host communities, it would not become a large imposition on local or national government.

"I urge the Government, in co-operation with those people and communities, to help provide that sanctuary to refugees. At the same time, the European Union - with the UK intimately involved - needs to work with much greater urgency to work on solutions to the crisis."

There was chaos at Keleti station in Budapest on Thursday morning after the police abandoned a two-day blockade of the terminal, writes James Badcock at the station.

The decision for police to leave allowed migrants camped out in the subterranean concourse outside to run quickly inside in the hope of catching a train to Germany or other parts of western Europe.

Hundreds of people pushed and shoved their way onto a train they thought was going to Munich as the few remaining police officers in the station area stood by.

Platform 8 of the station became the scene of dangerous overcrowding and screams could be heard as confusion reigned amongst migrants and refugees as to where the train was heading.

However there were signs on the carriage doors saying it was a service only as far as Sopron, a town in Hungary close to the border with Austria.

Scuffles broke out inside the train and families with small children were among those trying to squeeze their way inside and escape the de-facto refugee which had formed outside Keleti, where around 2,000 people have slept on the floor over recent nights.

The information board in the station put up a notice saying that all international services to western Europe had been cancelled for safety reasons. Loudspeaker announcements asked people to get off the train for Sopron due to overcrowding.

Eventually, after the train’s scheduled departure at 10.10 passed, many migrants gave up as they realised they would not be able to cross the border and leave Hungary.

No station staff were present on the platform or at the entrances to the station and a queue built up at customer services, where station staff explained to backpackers why they could not take direct trains towards Vienna or other European destinations today.

A station official said that the border with Slovakia was closed and that trains heading towards Germany would all be stopping before the border, meaning onward passengers would have to change.

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has urged the UK to do more via Twitter, writes Laura Hughes, the Telegraph's Political Correspondent.

"The UK I know has always shouldered its burden in the world. DfID is doing life-saving work abroad but we can - & must - do more at home. This is not an immigration issue, it's a humanitarian one, and the human response must be to help. If we don't, what does that make us?"

Meanwhile Nigel Farage, leader of Ukip, warns that there may be hundreds of thousands now, but there will be more next year as he claims the "EU has made a catastrophic error".

"Many that come are from Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, The Gambia or Senegal. They are not all from Syria. Just coming from one of those countries does not make you a genuine asylum seeker.

"It makes you a person seeking a better life and it is hard to argue against that."

He also suggests making sure we do not accept any Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants posing as refugees.

The boy on the beach photo is absent from many French front pages today, sparking criticism on social media and soul-searching among French journalists.

One French Twitter user writes: "The entire European press has put the Syrian boy who died on a beach on its front pages except the shameful French press."

However, Eric Valmir, a reporter for France Inter, the top public radio station, writes: "I refuse to look at the photo of the corpse of the Syrian child. In three days everyone will have forgotten it. Emotion is not the right vector."

In Turkey itself where Aylan Kurdi was found, Hurriyet Daily News has a picture that is too graphic to present .

In the US, the Wall Street Journal has also got the picture with the headline: "Amid Europe's migrant tide, a small horror in Turkey"

Donald Tusk, European Council president, says the crisis has caused a divide between the east and west of the EU, with some wishing to contain immigration and others wanting "solidarity".

"There is a divide ... between the east and the west of the EU. Some member states are thinking about containing the wave of migration, symbolised by the Hungarian (border) fence," Tusk said.

"Others want solidarity in advocating a so-called obligatory basis for (migrant) quotas. The key challenge is to find for them all a common, yet ambitious, denominator."

His comments came ahead of meeting with Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, who said the people want politicians to control borders from an influx of refugees into Europe that threatens to undermine the continent's Christian roots.

Mr Orban, writing in Germany's Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, said Hungary was "overrun" with refugees, majority of whom were Muslims, not Christians.

That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots. Or is it not already and in itself alarming that Europe's Christian culture is barely in a position to uphold Europe's own Christian values?"

"The people want us to master the situation and protect our borders. Only when we have protected our borders can questions be asked about the numbers of people we can take in, or whether there should be quotas."

The prime minister also said none of the migrants and refugees wanted to stay in Hungary. It is a "German problem", he added.

In contrast, Vienna's police chief has said that it is not possible to check everyone coming through the city and the force has no plans to do so.

"What we certainly can't do is check all those people coming through, establish all their identities, or possibly even arrest them -- we can't do this, and we have no plans to do this," Gerhard Puerstl said today.

So this blog has mentioned that after 48 hours, police are no longer stopped migrants enter Budapest railway station to travel westwards to Germany.

But agencies and reporters are describing desperately sad scenes of migrants entering trains, believing that the train might go to Austria or Germany, Reuters reports.

It soon became apparently that international trains were not running despite the police withdrawal - whose reasons for doing so are not known.

There has been more than 2,000 refugees and migrants fleeing conflicts and poverty camped outside Keleti station. Hungarian authorities had decided earlier this week that only those with legal permission to travel within the EU could go onwards.

Reuters points out that this is the continent's worst migrant/refugee crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

We have to be prepared to share the burden. This is not about having an open door policy, this is about having quite a specific responsive policy in the areas for example that we have expertise [in].

"Unaccompanied minors, women fleeing from sexual violence, for example territories held by Isis.

"These are areas upon which we have both expertise and an international reputation and I think Britain has always been a generous, open, welcoming country and we must not allow a political climate of today to step away from that proud tradition."

In the Ottawa citizen, Abdullah, father to Aylan, has told his family his wish is to return to Kobane with his dead wife and children to bury.

The website reports that he also said he wish was to "be buried alongside them".

Today has begun as dramatically as yesterday ended when the harrowing image of a dead child named as Aylan Kurdi, fleeing with his family from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, was published online in international newspapers as well as the Telegraph.

But with a picture, there is more than just the crisis in Europe that is depicted. Aylan Kurdi also has a story relating to the tragic events in the Middle East.

The three-year-old, whose brother Galip Kurdi, 5, also died, was fleeing Isil attacks in Kobane with his mother, Rehan, and father Abdullah. Sadly his mother also died. The father survived and has reportedly said he will go back to Kobane to bury his children and wife.

It has also been reported that Canada rejected refugee applications from the family. Teema Kurdi, a hairdresser in Vancouver who has lived there for more than 20 years, told Ottawa Citizen that the family had made "a 'G5' privately sponsored refugee application".

The website reports that this was rejected by citizenship and immigration earlier this year in June, because of "complexities involved in refugee applications from Turkey".

This is because the UN does not register Syrian Kurdish refugees in Turkey as refugees, the website said, and the Turkish state does not give the refugees exit visas.

“I was trying to sponsor them, and I have my friends and my neighbours who helped me with the bank deposits, but we couldn’t get them out, and that is why they went in the boat. I was even paying rent for them in Turkey, but it is horrible the way they treat Syrians there,” Teema said.

But the Telegraph has also got images (above and below) of the children in happier moments, full of life and hope.

Right now, James Badcock in Budapest at Keleti station says police have left the main railway station and refugees and migrants have entered the station after a 48-hour standoff.

Refugees were forced to sleep outside for two nights after Hungarian authorities said only those with EU visas could take international trains.

AFP reports this morning that hundreds tried to get on board a train, "pushing, shoving and fighting with each other to get on".

Source: The Telegraph

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