MSP marks World Refugee Day by welcoming and recognising the contribution of refugees to Scotland’s communities

Joining colleagues in the Scottish Parliament chamber Ruth Maguire MSP used the opportunity of World Refugee Day to welcome people who have sought refuge in Scotland from war and persecution, including refugees and people seeking asylum. Recognising the contribution that displaced people, who have made Scotland their home, have made to our culture and communities, noting Scotland is richer for the diversity they have brought.

Speaking in the debate Ruth reflected on the harrowing experience of those who are forced to flee their homes in search of sanctuary in another country.  Ruth called for safe routes to asylum in the UK and a focus on the removal of financial incentive for traffickers, by disrupting the market for humans. Again, Ruth noted that a robust justice response to men who purchase sex can tackle the particular danger to women and girls who are being trafficked for prostitution.

Ruth reflected on the current UK strategy to processing asylum claims and highlighted her concerns that the UK Government is abdicating responsibility of moral and legal obligations through it’s planned off shoring of asylum processing.  Ruth described the policy as inhumane, ineffective and shaming us all globally.

Ruth called for Scotland to have its own immigration system, founded on fairness and human rights, that fulfils moral and legal obligations, but noted that to achieve this Scotland must have the full powers of an independent nation.

Ruth Maguire MSP said:

“We could do so much better. As well as the simple democratic case for our nation restoring its independence, there are a myriad of specific policy reasons. A different approach to foreign policy and migration is one of those. With independence, and full power over migration policy, we can build an asylum and immigration system that is geared to meeting Scotland’s needs, which are different from those of the rest of the UK. For example, we need more working age people here.

We could have a system that is founded on fairness and human rights, which we have shown is possible with the Scottish social security system. An immigration system that fulfils our moral and legal obligations and that brings benefits to our nation is achievable for Scotland, but to achieve it we must have the full powers that only an independent nation has.

I welcome people who have sought refuge in Scotland over the years and recognise the contribution that those who have arrived here make to our culture and communities. Refugees are welcome here. Our country is richer for the diversity that you have brought—thank you.”

Ruth’s speech can be found in full on the Scottish Parliament Official Report here.

Watch Ruth’s Speech here: