The Scottish National Party has said Theresa May is guilty of “abject moral failure” in her inaction on the Syrian refugee crisis, after the UK government snuck out the news that it will fail to meet the commitment to resettle 3000 unaccompanied child refugees through the Lord Dubs Scheme.
In a written ministerial statement, published just hours before the final vote on the triggering of Article 50, the Home Office indicated it would stop receiving children through the Dubs Scheme in March – after receiving just 350 of the estimated 90,000 unaccompanied child refugees across Europe.
The news comes on the same day that the Scottish Government announced its New Refugee Doctors Project, with funding of £161,692 to support medically trained and qualified refugees to re-enter the medical profession in Scotland – with support to achieve medical registration and contribute their skills to NHS Scotland.
Commenting Stuart McDonald MP, the SNP spokesperson on Immigration, Asylum and Border Control, said: “Theresa May is guilty of abject moral failure – showing callous disregard for some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
“It is shameful and completely unacceptable for the UK government to turn its back on child refugees in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
“After many months of inaction, the UK government only reluctantly agreed to resettle a fraction of the estimated 90,000 unaccompanied child refugees in Europe following huge pressure from the public, parliament and the Scottish Government.
“To now go back on its word, and close down this key route prematurely, further compounds the shameful behaviour of Theresa May and her Tory ministers throughout the Syrian refugee crisis.
“Given the scale of the humanitarian crisis, and the comparative efforts of other countries, the UK government should significantly step up – not close down – its refugee resettlement efforts.
“Canada, a country with half the population of the UK took over 35,000 Syrian Refugees in 2016 alone, while Germany took around 300,000. In comparison the UK government’s efforts have been pathetic and bring shame to a country with a proud tradition of accepting refugees.
“As we have said time and again Scotland stands ready to do its bit – we have already welcomed well above our population share of those Syrian refugees resettled in the UK and we are willing to do more, but the UK government cannot shirk its responsibilities and the Prime Minister must now show some leadership and u-turn on this disgraceful decision.”
Maya Mailer, Oxfam’s head of humanitarian policy, said: “We’re shocked and disappointed that less than a year after it allowed unaccompanied child refugees to find a safe haven in the UK, the Government is now wriggling out of its responsibilities.
“The government’s decision flies in the face of the huge public support for the Dubs amendment.
“Under this scheme, the 350 children, who have fled terrible violence and been living in desperate conditions, have been able to enter the UK. Those children at last now have safety and hope – they can begin to rebuild their lives. It is tragic that others will be barred from doing the same.”