Refugees are not burdens, they are assets. The pandemic is our chance to reset Britain’s approach to migrants

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Saturday 10 October 2020 16:39
Priti Patel in Dover as government faces criticism over migrant crossing crisis

Having fled the war and torture of the Assad regime in Syria, I now call the UK home.

Intolerance is a danger. It’s Hate Crime Awareness Week (10-17 October), so let us challenge the relentless anti-migrant narratives that are being viciously spread by the far right. 

They are targeting migrants and see those vulnerable people coming across in small boats and “ruining the British culture”. I urge you all to not believe any of this.

Refugees are not burdens, they are assets. Assets working as frontline staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Aside from culture, religion and race, we are all human and hatred is not the answer. Let the pandemic be a chance to reset our approach to refugees and foster a mutual respect for everyone in this country.

Bahia Mardini

Syrian refugee and human rights activist

Spread of virus

I’m not surprised at the spread of the coronavirus when an assistant at a butcher's near where I live refused to use his mask, and I was called into the shop contradicting their own policy of two customers at a time.

This was after registering to use the NHS app and thinking that the shop, selling raw meat, was taking the situation seriously.

I am 76 and classed as highly vulnerable, along with my wife, and we are keeping to ourselves as far as possible. All I could do is walk straight out again.

Doug Flack


Holistic approach

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds on, we are faced with the stark reality of long-term mental ailments. Vast numbers of people are now unemployed, socially isolated or compelled to stay at home with deep apprehension about the future.  

Others are already caught up in poverty, fragile humanitarian settings, economic inequities, social marginalisation, stigmatisation, racism, discrimination, antisemitism, homophobia, Islamophobia, political disenfranchisement, climate and environmental emergencies, rapacious exploitation of natural resources, and the denial of their inviolable human rights, freedoms and dignities. It is therefore important to tackle such challenges holistically and safeguard our mental health and wellbeing.  

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob


‘Justice is being hamstrung by do-gooders’, Boris Johnson says

Dangerous rhetoric

I well imagine the head of the bar in England and lawyers are incandescent about Boris Johnson’s intemperate remarks concerning “the lefty human rights lawyers and other do-gooders” because their crime seemingly is standing up for the very basic human rights and otherwise of their clients and this impugns their integrity.

This is a serious calumny and should not have elicited from the prime minister’s mouth, thus reinforcing his home secretary’s intractable response to refugees and asylum seekers.  

This is not good enough because these are professional men and women doing their level best for their clients in the face, as stated, of gross underfunding and cuts.

Once this type of rhetoric beds down with the public, there will be no limit to the damage spread and the ongoing headlines engendered in the tabloid press who will have a field day.

Judith A Daniels

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Dear Santa Boris

My letter to Santa Boris this Christmas reads: “Please could you listen to the Independent Sage scientists who are asking you to implement meaningful measures against Covid-19 now, rather than procrastinating as you did in March and having to implement a harsher, longer lockdown later. I would like to know that all my friends and family are alive and well at Christmas even if I can’t visit them? Thank you.“

I suspect this on the wish list of one or two other people, too.

Ian Henderson


MP pay rise

I see that a pay rise of £3,300 is being recommended for MPs. They will of course accept it only months, if that, after refusing a pay rise for nurses. The people of this country mostly despise you all now. You can’t get anything right. A health secretary with no qualifications in health care? An education secretary who used to sell fireplaces? A PM without a sensible thought pattern in his head? Jeez, I cry for my grandchildren.

Richard Kimble


Fly or lie

During the vice-presidential debate Mike Pence was seen with a fly on his hair. Made a change from the presidential debate when we saw his boss lying on air.

Roger Hinds


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