Scots urged to resist 'scapegoating' on World Refugee Day

The UN's international day honouring refugees is being marked with events around the country.

Scots urged to resist ‘scapegoating’ on the UN’s World Refugee Day iStock

Scots have been urged to show kindness as the country marks World Refugee Day.

The Scottish Refugee Council told people to resist “scapegoating” those who have arrived in the country recently after being forced to leave their homes.

Tuesday is the UN’s international day for honouring and celebrating refugees.

About 110 million people around the world are thought to have been forced from their homes by conflict or persecution.

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “People in the UK have shown so much generosity and warmth towards refugees.

“I see this every day in the friendship extended to people who have recently arrived in Scotland.

“I know the difference this can make to someone who has lost their family, their home, their whole way of life.

“But at the moment we are also seeing extremely negative and hostile language used by politicians at the highest level, who are determined to turn asylum into a point-scoring political battle.”

He added: “This World Refugee Day we call for people to resist the scapegoating of refugees.

“We urge people across Scotland to do whatever small thing they can to show kindness and welcome to people who may have recently arrived here and who have resettled here through no fault of their own.

“A smile, an acknowledgment, an offer of friendship can go a long way to welcome people and build a real sense of community.”

The Refugee Festival Scotland is currently underway, with over 100 events around the country to celebrate the talents, skills and contributions of refugees in Scotland.

The Scottish Green Party said Scotland having powers over immigration would lead to a more humane system for those fleeing violence.

Green MSP Maggie Chapman said: “The Tories may give us warm words and platitudes on days like World Refugee Day, but the system that they have designed and presided over is appalling and inhumane.

“It is fundamentally cruel and trades on stigma and shame.

“Whether it is violent dawn raids, the prison-like detentions in so-called processing centres or the spectre of brutal deportation flights, the Tories and the institutionally racist Home Office have shown time and again that they will criminalise, punish and humiliate vulnerable people and smile while they are doing it.”

She continued: “With the powers of an independent country Scotland could do so much better.

“We could do far more to protect and enhance the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, and build a system based on compassion, empathy and solidarity rather than the calculated cruelty and hostility of Westminster.”

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