Think Sunak’s anti-refugee stance is bad? Just wait till the climate crisis truly ravages poorer countries
(The Guardian, 10 Mar 2023) Global heating is the fault of rich countries, but they will stop at nothing to prevent the world’s most deprived from finding a safe home.
Consider Abdul, a 26-year-old Darfuri refugee whose fellow villagers were burnt to death by Janjaweed, an Arab-supremacist militia. Think of Parwaiz, a cherubic 15-year-old Afghan boy with striking blue eyes, his father blown apart by a Taliban bomb. Or ponder the case of Hayat, who fled Eritrea – ruled by a regime that rivals North Korea for totalitarian repression – after his friends were arrested.
All of these are refugees I met in Calais, seeking to cross the Channel for British shores. All suffered horrors unimaginable to most people reading these words, and all would be automatically deported and banned from returning under Rishi Sunak’s new plans. When the Tory MP Neil O’Brien declares, “We must do whatever it takes to stop the boats,” you may doubt that he really means there are no limits to what this government is prepared to inflict on these traumatised human beings, until you remember they once refused to rule out using wave machines.
The construction of Fortress Britain is a gruesome foreshadow of a dystopian future. As things stand, asylum applications are not high by recent historical standards. In 2022, there were fewer than 75,000 claims for asylum; compare that with nearly 99,000 in 2000 or more than 103,000 in 2002.
The Guardian, 10 Mar 2023: Think Sunak’s anti-refugee stance is bad? Just wait till the climate crisis truly ravages poorer countries