8 December 2014
The humanitarian crisis in Syria is growing and the UK needs to do more to help, says the British Red Cross – on the eve of a UN conference on resettlement.
Tomorrow (9 December), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will call on western countries to offer asylum and protect the most vulnerable: including women, children and survivors of violence and torture.
Nearly four years of conflict and trauma have driven a huge number of people from Syria. Over three million have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon – where Syrian refugees now make up more than 25 per cent of the population.
Ready to help
The UNHCR’s target is to resettle 100,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.
So far, the UK has brought over 90 Syrian refugees under its Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.
Mike Adamson, chief executive at the British Red Cross, said: “We believe that the UK could do more to welcome a larger number of Syrian refugees who are particularly vulnerable.
“The Red Cross stands ready to support a scaling up in the UK’s resettlement programmes.”
Support in a crisis
We play an auxiliary role, meaning we help the government in times of crisis.
We also have a long tradition of providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
One way we could support further resettlement is by welcoming and helping Syrian refugees at reception centres, when they first arrive in the UK.
Need for leadership
Tomorrow’s conference offers this chance to support a greater number of Syrian refugees – not just in the UK but across the European Union (EU).
Some states have already stepped up to the challenge. Germany, for example, has pledged to take 28,000 refugees.
Mike Adamson said: “To address UNHCR’s appeal for 100,000 resettlement places will require leadership from the UK."