Attack on refugee children
The number of people who have fled Syria for safety during the nine-year war is of unimaginable proportions. But the UN has done whatever it could in the circumstances. Among those that considered themselves extremely fortunate was a family that was accommodated under a UN programme in the UK. But a different torture started thereafter. The sister of a refugee schoolboy who was attacked in an incident shared widely on social media was also bullied at the same British school, according to the family's lawyer. New footage emerged showing a teenage girl in a pink hijab being shoved by teenagers. She is then pushed to the ground. Earlier this week, footage emerged showing the 14-year-old girl's 15-year-old brother being taunted, grabbed and pushed to the ground as other students looked on. Someone filmed the incident, which occurred at a school in Huddersfield, northern England. The video of the Syrian boy's alleged assault prompted widespread condemnation and an online fundraising effort had reached £124,464 (about $159,000), two days after being launched. The boy told ITV News that the alleged attack left him scared of going to school."I woke up at night and just started crying because of this problem. They think I am different from them" he said. "I don't feel safe at school. Sometimes I say to my dad I don't want to go to school anymore," he added. "I was disappointed when I came to the UK because I was thinking my life is going to be good, my future is going to be really good if I study at school. And I didn't achieve any of that."
West Yorkshire police said Wednesday that a 16-year-old youth had been interviewed and reported for summons for assault and that he would appear at a juvenile court in due course. "There was no further police action and the matter was referred to the school," the police said. It has, since, transpired that the family fled from Homs in Syria to Lebanon. They settled in Huddersfield under a UN programme in 2016. In a Twitter post, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman described the video as "absolutely shocking." "Have been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention. Understand from the council that the school have taken strong action. Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given!" he wrote. The school's headteacher has said in a statement that the safety and welfare of students was the school's "number one priority" and that the "situation is being taken extremely seriously." Since the incident occurred, the school, the local authority and the police have all taken "action". But when will real justice, sense and sensibility prevail when it comes to handling helpless refugees?