Over 300 lawyers have signed an open letter to David Cameron criticising the government’s handling of the refugee crisis.
The letter, whose signatories include several former law lords as well as a former president of the European Court of Human Rights, condemns the government’s plan to take in only 20,000 refugees over the next five years. The letter argues that given the great wealth and stability of the UK, it should be doing far more to help refugees, including allowing many more of them into the country.
The letter calls for an end to the “Dublin system”, which says that refugees must apply for asylum in the first safe country in which they arrive. It argues that the best way to undermine the exploitative people-smuggling of refugees to the UK would be to allow them come here legally, thereby removing the need to risk their lives by paying money to criminal gangs.
One judge who signed the letter said: “When history considers how our country has behaved in this moment of serious crisis, do we want to be judged as having wrung our hands while standing back in the face of immense suffering?”
Meanwhile, activists on both sides of the channel are organising solidarity demonstrations in support of the thousands of migrants stranded in Calais.
The Calais Migrant Solidarity campaign has organised a demonstration on Friday 16 October from 6pm at St. Pancras station in London to protest against “Eurostar, Eurotunnel and the whole border regime of which they are a part”. A coalition of groups has called a further protest in Dover on 17 October.
The protests are calling for the border to be opened, and for migrants arrested trying to walk through the tunnel to be released.