Letter: How British citizens could help the Bosnians

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The Independent Online
Sir: Rebecca Tinsley (Letters, 3 August) asks for suggestions as to which way British citizens can help the Bosnians. Perhaps these ideas would be useful:

They could badger the Home Secretary, through the good offices of local MPs, to agree to take in more of the refugees than has been recommended. They could organise a petition to gather support for this reasonable request; take around the petition to schools and colleges, factories, churches, offices, shops, private houses, anywhere where a number of people congregate.

They could request their local councils to take an interest in what would by now be 'a local issue' and agree to help a given number of families by releasing accommodation from the housing stock. This would not be as daunting as it sounds - all councillors want to be recognised as humanitarian, and if enough people are seen to have sympathy with this cause councils will not object.

They could then organise support groups to help the Bosnians settle into their local areas, and they should make sure their activities get lots of publicity.

Ms Tinsley must not be disheartened at the Government's seeming callousness but must get cracking and encourage, through her example, like-minded people across the country. In this way the Government will better understand what the citizens of this country want and should thus allow a decent number of Bosnians to settle here.

The actions of ordinary people can move governments. This course of action, which took place throughout the UK in 1979 during the Vietnamese boat people crisis, could work now for the Bosnians.

Yours faithfully,

TRESSA REEVES

Farnham, Surrey

3 August

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