Why people who are anti-refugee in the UK lack basic human empathy.
Human empathy is a difficult thing to comprehend with many people having a different idea of what it really is in their own mind, however Cambridge Dictionary describes Empathy as ‘the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation’. Therefore, it would mean that people who see Immigration or Asylum as an issue lack the understanding of what those seeking for asylum are facing, in July 31st 2020 YouGov found that 26% of British people surveyed found Immigration and Asylum to be the most important issue facing the country. Therefore, 26% of those surveyed appear to lack the principles or mindset of understanding the true reasons behind why people are seeking asylum.
Priti Patel the Home Secretary who on the tenth of August tweeted the tweet below, clearly expresses how she lacks the general compassion and care to do the job role of Home Secretary. She describes the amount of boat crossings as ‘unacceptable’ however if the UK provided an effective system for the refugees to safely apply for asylum and be able to come to the UK then the number would be far lower. So, is she really trying to put the blame on the asylum seekers in France trying to make it across the channel to finally find safety and sanctuary in the UK. Firstly, lets look at the main reasons why the UK seems to be a better option than the countries they are fleeing; war and political, religious, sexuality or gender based persecution in their home-countries, then many migrations are coming through Eastern Europe where any countries such as, Poland, Hungary and Serbia have significantly higher rates of persecution by government and the population than a country like the UK. If the Home Office therefore took a more open-minded look at the reasons for fleeing their countries, and why not all European countries are suitable for many of the asylum seekers fleeing war or persecution. Using an example of a country which is unsuitable for refugees of LGBTQIA+ persecution could be Poland which has LGBT free zones, and a homophobic president who said LGBT ideology is more dangerous than Communism for Poland.
The drop experienced in small boat crossing from France to the UK between April and June which was around a 50% drop with the first three months of the year are due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And, this causes even more empathy to be needed for the refugees with many of them been stuck and almost forgotten about in France. Therefore, now with the images of the boats beginning again people are getting increasingly angry, however little change has happened and boats have been consistently coming to the UK, however the media is the only real thing which has changed. The media has shared their own opinion, but also shared the Conservative Governments opinion which is why the British public is also becoming more vocal with many taking to social media to share their opinion.
When assessing some Statistics from RefugeeCouncil.Org, the year ending June 2020 only 32,423 asylum applications were made in the UK, the top five nationalities were Iran, Albania, Iraq, Eritrea and Pakistan. With Iran still going through the war with Iraq, Albania still facing difficulties since the ending of the war with Serbia, Iran is currently in. very bad situation with terrorist and rebel organisations controlling areas as well as Western Drone strikes, Eritrea experiencing conflict from 1998–2000 and only signing a Peace Treaty in 2018, and Pakistan which still has the Taliban and Al-queda and similar organisations controlling areas. Also, only 53% of applications are granted asylum or protection at the initial decisions with roughly half of those declined getting granted after they appeal.
Furthermore, let’s discuss Section 98 of the Immigration Act 1999 which prohibits asylum seekers from working therefore causing them to receive a small amount of financial support from the government. Many people who are against immigration are then more annoyed by this as the taxpayer is having to provide them with an income, but if you actually look at the income the futility of their anger can be seen with asylum seekers been provided £5 per day for basic necessities. Now imagine living on £5 per day until your asylum is granted or denied something which often takes over 6 months with many more complicated cases taking over a year, to decide if they can stay or are having to leave. Additionally, Humanitarian experts have also criticised the government for their handling over this crisis and this has become much more common during the pandemic.