Press release from the Syria Solidarity Movement:
With the situation in Syria deteriorating still further, and with the rise of ISIS in Eastern Syria and Iraqi causing fresh displacements of people and increasing the refugee crisis, this is an opportunity for the government to reassess its priorities, and improve on its commitment to help Syrian refugees.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is now calling for European nations to help resettle 130,000 refugees by 2016.
It was exposed last month that only 24 Syrian refugees had so far been helped by the relocation scheme, from a projected total of 500 over the next three years. As of June 27th, the scheme has helped just 50 people.
There are currently 2.9 million refugees in countries neighbouring Syria, who are bearing the vast majority of the cost of the conflict.
The number of Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Europe since 2011 is 123,600, just 4% of the total. The number of places offered by Europe for resettlement of Syrian refugees so far is 31,817. (UNHCR July 11th)
In response to the call by the UNHCR, Germany has doubled the number of places it is offering, to 20,000. Sweden and Germany between them are taking 56% of new Syrian refugee applicants to Europe.
The British government should act now to fulfil its commitment to the UN Refugee Convention.
The very least that could be done do is to increase the number of refugees it is taking from a paltry 500, to match the 20,000 being taken by the German Government. This would help relieve the strain on countries neighbouring Syria, and give the chance of a new life to those worst affected.
A Parliamentary meeting on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme is scheduled for Wednesday 16th.