Scottish Refugee Council urges Scottish Government to establish national standards for refugee integration
AMER SCOTT MASRI a doctorate holder and Syrian refugee celebrated the Scottish Government’s attitude and conduct towards refugees in a meeting of the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre yesterday evening (Tuesday 3 October).
Talking about his previous studies in Scotland before the Syrian civil war and the torture he endured by the security forces of the Syrian Government, he pleaded with the audience and Scottish Government to never yield to suspicion of refugees.
At the same meeting in an Edinburgh University lecture theatre, the Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) made an appeal for the Scottish Government to introduce a set of refugee national standards to ensure consistent quality of integration.
“I remember. The first cries heard when the people went on to the streets was – We seek dignity, dignity, dignity. Because we have lived for 40 years without dignity.” Amer Masri
Masri who recently achieved a PhD in genealogy from Edinburgh said: “I am heart broken. I love Scotland, because there is kindness and peace here. But there is no peace or justice in my land. I do not understand how these big men from the big powers can go to bed when children are being killed in their 1000s.
“What made us refugees? The genocide of the Syrian people by one family.”
Enthused by the idea that his country might have had the chance to taste liberty for the first time, he went back to Syria when the first protests broke out on the streets of Aleppo and Damascus.
“I remember. The first cries heard when the people went on to the streets was – We seek dignity, dignity, dignity. Because we have lived for 40 years without dignity.
“When you turn on the news please do not be changed by the media and they way they present us. Think about the cause and the effect. We are an effect. Not extremist cause. The Government – Scottish Government gets this.
“Look at me, I love it here, I work – I even pay tax!”
“What made us refugees? The genocide of the Syrian people by one family.” Amer Masri
Masri who now works as a researcher at the university spoke of his experience of being captured by the Assad regime and tortured in underground cells for a total of three months.
Other organizations gave evidence at the event put on by the Edinburgh World Justice Festival such as Citizens UK, East Lothian Aid for Refugees, International Medical Corps and the SRC.
Gary Christie, head of policy and communications at SRC said: “The Scottish Government has done a good job so far when considering the recognition of refugees and the need for safe abode. But we must be careful not to focus only on recognition but also rights.
“Rights are crucial in terms of ensuring those who come are fully welcomed, not only welcomed but inter grated and able to economically and emotionally tap back into society.”
“The UK Government is not interested in communities but we must be – and redouble all efforts on integration. What we need is a set of national standards so that no matter where you go in Scotland, not only is the welcome warm but the plan to intergrate is thorough.”
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