As right-wing British newspapers plaster their front pages with the headline “Tell us the Tooth” and “These migrants don’t look like children,” it’s time we ask ourselves; what makes one nation feel so superior to another? Since when did borders define an individuals right to safety and happiness?
#refugees, fleeing war zones such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, are not only leaving behind violence, brutality and mass murder, but also their livelihoods, families and businesses. Nevertheless, these educated, innocent individuals are repeatedly treated like animals, with no entitlement to basic human rights.
Maybe, its time, certain members of the British public and government, took the time to truly understand the situation at the #Jungle refugee camp, the sickening conditions and reality for refugees, before they jump to conclusions and interrogate every refugee or migrant that crosses the Calais-UK border.
Depression has no age limit
Recent news of the destruction of the Jungle camp, on part of the French authorities, means the hopes and dreams of refugees being reunited with their families in the UK seem further away than ever.
After experiencing a near five years of modern history’s most brutal wars, travelling Europe near enough by foot, raped, beaten and detained along the way, to then reach a wasteland filled with human detritus in conditions that hit below freezing, and told you should carry on living with strangers in a field because you don't quite meet the rights to be reunited with your family in the UK, it comes as no surprise that refugees are experiencing extreme #Depression, anxiety, and some even committing suicide.
Volunteers and organisations working on ground at the camp, in cooperation with the UK government, were the ones to decide who should be in the first group of minors to reach the UK. Of course, a 20 year-old with extreme depression and openly self-harming, will need to be reunited with family urgently.
However, it seems readers of The Sun and The Daily Mail were shocked and horrified when a cute four-year-old didn't arrive in the UK earlier this week, with missing limbs and broken toys. Maybe, it’s time to accept that sometimes, we don’t know the full story, or the extent someone is suffering - regardless of their age.
Volunteers to the rescue
As someone who has volunteered in Calais, I have witnessed the outstanding support that volunteers provide for refugees living at the camp. Working endless hours, distributing food and clothes, teaching English, and introducing refugees to their legal rights - volunteers across Europe have moved their lives and families to Calais to fight for the right’s of refugees.
While there is no doubt that the remaining minors, some as young as eight-years-old, urgently need to reach the UK, many are adopted or under the legal care of volunteers and organisations working on ground - unlike the slightly older minors, 16 years-old and above, who are still child orphans, but are more likely to have to fend for themselves.
Human rights are universal
My question is this: since when did becoming an adult, or even as young as 15, mean you were stripped of your rights to health, happiness, and safety?
Conclusively, I don't believe shunning refugees, turning them away, or integrating them makes you racist - but I believe it makes you ignorant. It makes you ignorant to the fact that it is by sheer fortune and luck are you not born into a country experiencing conflict. It makes you ignorant to the fact that age, gender, and nationality doesn’t define an individuals entitlement to human rights. And finally, it makes you ignorant to the fact that if yourself and your family was in the same position, you would do the exact same thing.