As Refugee Day takes place today, at the beginning of Refugee Week 2007 (18th – 24th June), Green Euro MP Jean Lambert has called for national recognition and respect for the unique and individual skills refugees bring to the UK.
With hundreds of events taking place throughout the week, including music festivals, art exhibitions and political debates, Refugee Week celebrates the contribution refugees make to the UK and encourages a better understanding between communities.
Jean Lambert, who is Green MEP for London and attended the launch of the London Churches Refugee Fund in Westminster Abbey last night, today gave her support to all refugees but warned that with the climate crisis before us the number of environmental refugees could rise dramatically.
Jean commented; “Refugees do not leave their homes because they want to. They do not have a choice and are forced to leave because their life is in danger due to war, political oppression. Now we are seeing more people moving because their environment has become so degraded or damaged they can no longer survive or make a livelihood in their homeland.
“Many Refugees live in the hope that they can one day return home but whilst that may be impossible their contribution to UK life is invaluable. We should reinstate the right to work for asylum seekers. Those whose claims have been refused but who can not safely return home need an interim resident permit so they can work rather than be left destitute.
“Refugee Week gives us all time to not only celebrate the skills refugees bring to the UK but also reflect on the reasons for their seeking protection in the first place.”