Thursday 30 March 2017

Real asylum seekers want refuge, not life in a particular nation

A migrant child cries as refugees scramble aboard a train at the station in Beli Manastir, Croatia
A migrant child cries as refugees scramble aboard a train at the station in Beli Manastir, Croatia
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

As someone who has consistently advocated a fair, proportionate, pan-European response to the refugee crisis, not simply from a humanitarian stance, but also on the basis of political, social and cultural solidarity with our southern neighbours, I want to register my outrage at the statement by Dr Jeff Crisp, a refugee expert at Oxford University.

By arguing that "the strength of the refugees' wishes is strong and they are determined to go where they want to go" (Irish Independent, September 23), he instantly defines them not as refugees, but as migrants. The historical principle of refuge has always been grounded in the concept of sanctuary from persecution.

Therefore, throughout the centuries, those fleeing from civil and social strife have always not merely accepted the hospitality of whatever generous host nation they have arrived in, but also been eternally grateful for that sanctuary.

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