Global crisis demands global response

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THE ongoing refugee and migrant calamity has left me bewildered by the low profile – almost non-existent – input from the United Nations. Surely this is a global problem and the UN has a refugee arm designed to deal with such crises?

Of course, European Union states should by now have devised a quota to allow each to take in a fair share of these unfortunate people. But just because Europe is geographically the nearest continent to North Africa does not absolve the rest of the world from playing its part.

Migrants or refugees from Syria, Eritrea or Iraq are not all closer racially or culturally to most Europeans than they are to North or South Americans, or Asians, for example.

Spread fairly across all European countries, the crisis becomes relatively small; spread across the world it would become negligible. Why cannot the UN do something worthwhile and organise a global response? 

John Slee

Hopetoun Terrace

Gullane, East Lothian

SEEING the great suffering of others, it is a natural human instinct to want to help. Politicians, of course, feel that same sympathy and desire to do what they can.

They are also aware of the public mood and realise there is an expectation that they should speak and act in part on behalf of us all.

Two things to beware of in such times, though. First, politicians who claim the moral high ground. Second, those who focus on the symptoms of a crisis because the cause is too difficult to address.

Part of the reason we elect leaders is in the hope that at times like these they find the courage, wisdom and compassion needed to not only do what feels right in the moment, but also to confront the complex causes of human suffering for the future well­being of everyone.

Keith Howell

West Linton

Peeblesshire

AS JOHN Mullin observes ­(Perspective, 5 September), the photograph of dead Syrian child Aylan Kurdi can be used to corner the likes of Prime Minister David Cameron with the implication that the boy’s death resulted from his ­policies.

Yet it is reported that the boy drowned with his brother and mother after their ­Vancouver-based aunt’s sponsorship request for their entry to Canada was turned down.

It is tempting to use such images to force the hand of hard-pressed leaders and claim, as some tabloids do, that they changed policy, but quality journalism must resist such tactics.

The truth is that Mr Cameron’s Conservative government has given more to humanitarian efforts than the rest of the European Union put together while one-third of a million immigrants reach our shores every year.

It is a global problem and behind the current violence lies the failure of entire ­cultures to produce functioning civil societies and provide a decent standard of living for their people.

(Rev Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews, Fife

MILLIONS of refugees, ­immigrants, and families fleeing murderous regimes are clambering to get sanctuary in ­Europe.

The pictures of the little boy washed up on a Turkish beach have rightly increased the momentum to save families claiming asylum.

Apart from Hungary and the UK, we must congratulate the other European countries for opening their gates to all the desperate families.

However, could it be that among the throng there maybe hundreds who are not refugees, but leaders of organisations which have beheaded, murdered and bombed and who are now moving undercover to set up bases to destroy in democratic EU states?

Terry Duncan

Bridlington

Yorkshire

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