HOPE not Hate has launched a petition condemning the government’s decision to withdraw support for migrant rescue missions in the Mediterranean, describing the stance as “inhumane and unacceptable for a modern civilised country”.
The government has claimed that rescuing sinking boats acts as a ‘pull factor’, encouraging further immigration, and Home Office Minister James Brokenshire said in the Commons on Thursday that missions to rescue drowning migrants “need to end at the earliest opportunity’.
But HOPE not hate say this is “a desperate attempt to head off support for UKIP” which will only lead to more deaths. The anti-racist organisation is launching a petition calling on the government to reverse its decision.
“The government’s position is reminiscent of former BNP leader Nick Griffin, when he said that the EU should sink boats to stop them getting to the European shores,” commented HOPE not Hate’s Nick Lowles. “He too talked about ‘swamping’.
“At least Griffin said that the authorities should ‘throw them a life raft’ – the Home Office is not even saying that.
“In a modern civilised society, this is totally wrong. It is even more reprehensible given that we are the fourth wealthiest country in the world and the government is doing this out of fear of UKIP.
“Britain has a long and proud history of helping people in need. Only this week Sir Nicholas Winton was awarded the Czech Republic’s highest state honour for saving the lives of 669 children, most of them Jews, from the Nazis. In presenting Sir Nicholas the award, the Czech President said: ‘I thank the British people for making room for them.’
“Sir Nicholas, and others like him, did not think about the economic consequences of their action, they simply helped people in need. And this is what we should continue to do.
“The government’s decision to leave people to drown in order to win back support from UKIP is unacceptable and has to be reversed.”