Thursday, 29 October 2015

Draft Letter to an MP about Refugee camps in Lesbos

I was recently moved to tears by this article in the Huffington Post about refugees in camps in Lesbos, where people are dying due to lack of shelter, supplies and medical help. I felt compelled to write to my MP, especially after learning that so much of the help given by people is not actually getting to the people who need it.

Writing to MPs is amazingly effective in bringing change and action. These people are paid (through our taxes) to act on the issues that are important to us. If we write to them, they will know what issues are important. I have never written a letter to an MP that has not received a reply, and I have sometimes had letters passed on to the policy maker in that particular area.

I have found it helpful when I first wrote to MPs to send a generic letter written by someone else. Sometimes I edited these letters, sometimes I just addressed them to my MP and sent them as is. I have included a generic template letter below (I added some more detail addressing my MP, because I have written to him before). Please use this letter to write to your MP; the more voices speak out, the more likely the government is to listen.

You can find your MP's name contact details here, just type in your post code.

Dear [MP's name]

I’m sure you, like I, have been distressed and concerned by the vast number of refugees attempting to flee from ISIS and find refuge in Europe. These men, women and children are only taking such long and dangerous journeys because they fear for their lives.

 I understand that the United Kingdom is offering help to a number of refugees who have not yet reached Europe. I also understand the government’s desire to focus aid for those who have not yet reached Europe, as those people are clearly the most vulnerable to attacks from terrorist groups. I fully support this action by the government, but feel that it is our duty to do more to help our fellow human beings.

Recently I have read about the plight of refugees who have already reached European soil. I was particularly moved by an article written by a charity worker, from a small charity Help Refugees, in the Huffington Post. She wrote of the horrific conditions in refugee camps in Lesbos, where people are dying of starvation, dehydration, exposure and disease. She wrote of children who’s feet are literally rotting away, because they are sleeping outside in the cold and rain and do not have access to clean, dry clothes. I was surprised to read that there is very little presence in these camps of large charities or of government help. There are little or no medical facilities. People who have reached the “safety” of European soil are dying, and will continue to die if nothing is done to provide proper shelter, provisions and medical help, especially as winter approaches. This is a matter of great urgency.

I urge you to raise this issue with anyone who can help. Although people are donating money and items to charity the charities are not getting to the people who need them because of government policy and red tape. I am unsure if UK policy is affecting this, or if it is the local governments where the camps are located. Either way, I urge you to talk to our own government and ambassadors for other governments, so that we can do everything possible to prevent these people from dying.

I am sure that you will take any action you can to save the lives of these people.

Yours Sincerely

 [Your name]
P.S. The article in question can be read online here.

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