“We must help female refugees in Calais to safety”

Jane Gebbie assembling some of the items bought with Cymru Wales Women’s Committee’s donation for refugees in Calais

Jane, why is it such an important issue to get resources to Calais?

As soon as I heard Young Labour members locally in Bridgend were organising a deliveries for refugees aid trip to Calais, I knew UNISON Cymru Wales Women’s Committee needed to get involved.

What was it that resonated with the Women’s Committee?

UNISON women have always been involved in helping refugees and displaced women. We have always challenged discrimination against women in the past and it is important to do something wherever we can.

Jane and UNISON Cymru Wales members marching against government spending cuts. Photo credit: Tracey Paddison

What did you find in Calais?

The conditions for refugees in the camp in Calais were horrific. They were before the pandemic started but now all the aid organisations have pulled out because of the virus and it’s got worse.

Jane with UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis. Photo credit: Tracey Paddison

How do you think our governments, in Westminster and Wales, have responded to the refugee crisis?

Britain takes in only a tiny fraction of the world’s refugees. We are a rich, supposedly accepting country. If you look at Calais, we’re not as accepting as we say we are. We should be doing so much more to help people in severe need.

What next for UNISON and the Cymru Wales Women’s Committee?

I want to go back to Calais and see what I can do to help whether it’s raising the profile of refugees or getting resources to them.

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