15 September 2015


Jeremy Corbyn, Parliament Square, London
    September 12, 2015

I’ve never seen Parliament Square looking so filled, so beautiful and so 
happy as on this day. Thank you all for being here today.

When I was declared elected three and a half hours ago, I announced to 
our conference that my first action in this new position as leader of 
the Labour Party would be to come to a demonstration in support of 
refugees, the right to asylum and the human needs of people all over the 

And I do that because we are all humans, we all have a sense of decency 
and humanity and reaching out to others. And I am shocked beyond 
appalled at the way so many and so much of our media over so long, 
endlessly describe desperate people in desperate situations as ‘the 
problem’; desperate people in desperate situations, as people who are 
trying to travel or move illegally.

Those desperate people in desperate situations are all over the world. 
There are more of them now than at any time ever in the recorded history 
of this planet.

They’re victims of war, they’re victims of environmental degradation, 
they’re victims of poverty, they’re victims of human rights abuses all 
over the world.

We have a responsibility as one of many countries that signed the 1951 
Geneva Convention on the Right to Asylum. We are a country that is a 
member, obviously, of the UN, but also of the Refugee Council and the 
Human Rights Council.

And we therefore have a responsibility to ensure those people are 
properly cared for and properly supported.

And so I think it’s quite incredible what has happened across Europe in 
the past few weeks. Suddenly a lot of politicians have rediscovered 
their principles of humanity. They’ve rediscovered that you don’t need 
to walk in fear of the far right and racists – there is actually a 
popular uprising in favour of decency and humanity in our society.

To those who managed to try to get into Hungary, to get through Austria, 
to get into Germany, I say to the ordinary people, the ordinary decent 
people in Hungary, who came out of their homes to offer food and water 
and clothing and health and sustenance and comfort to Syrian people 
going through the most terrible stress and distress in their lives, 
thank you very much for your demonstration of humanity.

I also say thank you to the people in Austria who did the same, and I 
say thank you to Germany, for being prepared to take the numbers of 
refugees they are, and showing the way that should be followed.

I also say that we need to have a thought as to why people end up in 
such desperate situations. I’ve been in parliament a long time and I’ve 
seen many decisions taken. And in moments of clamor and moments of 
fervor, decisions are made – go here, invade there, bomb there, do this, 
do that.

It’s the easy situation, the media build it up, there’s lots of military 
advice, there’s lots of apparently simple and easy solutions. Tragically 
wars don’t end when the last bullet is fired, or the last bomb is dropped.

The mourning and the loss of soldiers of all uniforms goes on. The 
mourning and the loss of families that lost loved ones because of 
bombardments and fighting – that goes on.

The refugees move on and on, and there are whole generations of refugees 
around the world that are victims of various wars. Those desperate 
people in camps in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Libya and so many other 
places, desperate people trying to cross into Turkey and other places – 
they are all, in a sense, victims of wars.

So surely, surely, surely, our objectives ought to be to find peaceful 
solutions to the problems of this world; to spend our resources on 
helping people not hindering people; and to try and bring about that 
world of decency, human rights and justice.

And so none of this is simple, and none of this is easy. But surely we 
have a principle between us all – that we are all human beings on the 
same planet. We’re all human beings who want to live. We’re all human 
beings who want the children who live in the next generation to 
hopefully be better off than we are.

And you think of those families eking out an existence in refugee camps 
all around the world – they too are ambitious. Their children too want 
to be artists, poets, writers, engineers, lawyers, journalists… doctors 
and everything else.

The waste of human resources by the lack of human rights is one of the 
great crimes of the last and this century.

So today, here in Parliament Square, we as ordinary, decent people, 
stand up and say to our government, recognise your obligations in law. 
That would be good. Recognise your obligations to help people, which 
you’re required to do by law. That would be good.

But above all, open your hearts and open your minds and open your 
attitudes, towards supporting people who are desperate, who need 
somewhere safe to live, want to contribute to our society and are human 
beings just like all of us.

Together in peace, together in justice, together in humanity - that 
surely must be our way forward.

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm