Tag Archives: Germany

As Germany commits to taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees can you guess how many the UK has agreed to take?

Zaatari refugee camp

Zaatari refugee camp


Dear the British political establishment (you know who you are),

You have today been arguing over whether or not Britain should take in 500 Syrian refugees. Do you have any idea how contemptible, abhorrent and just completely ridiculous this makes you look?

You see there are currently just under two and half million Syrian refugees – that is about one in ten of the country’s population.

In response to this almost unheard level of severity, the UNHCR approached you and other European leaders to ask if Europe could take just 30,000 of these refugees. Leaving mainly much poorer neighbouring countries to take the disproportionate burden.

Germany stepped up in response to this modest request and committed to taking in 10,000.

In contrast, after a week of trying to avoid your moral – if not legal – obligation to take in any additional refugees, you have now compromised and agreed to take in 500 spread out over the coming year.

You must be able to see that this makes you, at best uncaring and at worst, a collection of abhorrent human beings?

In one ear I know you could hear the whisperings of middle-England, ‘We are just a tiny Island and we cannot take in more people’ and I know this influenced your decision. But it is this small Island mentality that you’re now perpetuating that looks, not just ridiculous, but, in the light of this crisis contemptible.

In contrast – a much smaller nation, Lebanon who has a population of just over four million, is currently hosting over a million Syrians. 85% of whom are registered as refugees with the UNHCR.

Please, just step back and just look at what you’re actually saying. After weeks of trying to say ‘none of our business’ you have finally agreed to take 500 refugees but are turning your back on the thousands that UNHCR has asked you to help and millions who are still languishing in temporary camps.

These people have had their lives ripped to shreds by war and you know you could be doing far far more than just sending money!

The parameters in which you have framed this debate have sickened and embarrassed me.

I hope, in the coming days you will grow the fuck up, take stock of just how appalling your position has been, and start fully cooperating with UNHCR’s plan.

In hope,

Steve Hynd

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Filed under Human rights, Middle East, Politics, War

Brussels trades in tools of torture

Metal thumb-cuffs are among the tools of torture highlighted in the report © Robin Ballantyne / Omega Research Foundation

Companies across the EU have little restraint put upon them to not trade in instruments that can be used for torture.  European companies are selling electronic sleeves that deliver massive electronic shocks to those who are forced to wear them,” thumb cuffs” and other barbaric instruments. 

This is happening despite a ruling being in place since 2006 with outlaws such action.  It is illegal for European companies to trade in policing and security equipment designed for torture.  Several European states however, have failed to implement these rules.  This, in reality, means that are economies are being funded through illegal sales of torture equipment.  Does anyone else feel a little uncomfortable about this?

The Czech Republic and Germany were both named and shamed by an Amnesty International report highlighting the severity of this issue.  Amnesty maintain that “Between 2006 and 2009, the Czech Republic issued export licenses covering shackles, electric shock weapons and chemical sprays to six countries where police and security forces had previously used such equipment for torture and other ill-treatment”.  Germany it alleges “issued similar licenses to three such countries for exports of foot-chains and chemical sprays”.   This is active government and business lead support for Torture. Only 7 EU states have fulfilled their commitments under the legislation.  To help with your maths, this means 20 Member States are falling short.

The EU, once again, has the highest of standards when it comes to rhetoric around human right, but too often falls miserably short in up-holding its commitments.  Sadly, this pattern is extenuated when big business is involved. The European Commission must show it can stand up to big business on this issue.

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Filed under EU politics, Human rights, Politics