Red Cross: We forget to ask refugees what they need

Take note – story published 7 years ago

As Latvia is admitting refugees, it's important to first learn what kind of help they need, and not impose our own understanding of what exactly constitutes help, Latvia's Red Cross General Secretary Uldis Līkops told Latvian Radio Friday.

He said that many in Latvia think that they know what the refugees need.

"We cannot impose on those people what they need to do. We have to understand that people are different and their mentality and view of life is different. And we can help them integrating here should they wish to do so," said Līkops.

What constitutes help in our view should be replaced by the help they want to receive. For example, the first thing the asylum seekers wanted was to let them to sleep and rest, and that's what they were allowed to do, he said.

He was confident that Latvia is capable to help those refugees the state has committed to admit.

"We don't see any substantial problems that cannot be solved," said the head of Latvia's Red Cross.

Another question Līkops discussed is whether the refugees want to integrate into Latvian society.

"We won't be leading them to the Employment Agency in handcuffs and we won't be settling them forcefully in any place, and we won't be carrying out forced health exams or anything of the sort," said Līkops.

Latvia has agreed to take in a total of 531 refugees from Italy and Greece within two years, with the possibility that number could rise to a maximum of 776 if agreement can be reached with other EU member states. So far six families have arrived under the EU relocation scheme since February. 

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important