Syrian Refugee Crisis
There are now over 4.5 million refugees from the civil war in Syria. This is one of the worst crises of displaced people since the Second World War. Most of these refugees are housed in makeshift camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Lebanon alone with a total population of about 4 million, has received over a million refugees.
The UK government is helping to pay for the support of refugees in the camps around Syria’s border and has offered to resettle 20,000 refugees from those camps by the d of this parliament in 2020. These are refugees identified by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as being particularly vulnerable and in need of resettlement. Under the UK’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) Scheme local authorities have to offer accommodation before these refugees can be admitted to the UK. Once they arrive, all costs will be met by central government for one year.
It is vital that we press our local councillors to help in meeting this urgent need. As Amnesty International UK has said, “The success of the government’s V.P.R. Scheme is completely dependent on the participation of the local authorities.”
In Birmingham we have a diverse city with a long history of welcoming refugees into our communities. In the face of this humanitarian disaster we have to play our part in helping vulnerable people to find a home and rebuild their lives here. In late 2015 and early 2016, fifty Syrians arrived in Birmingham via the VPR scheme.
Since then Birmingham City Council has agreed to take 500 refugees under the VPR scheme by 2020. It is still helpful to let Councillors know that members of the public support that decision.
For further information consult www.amnesty.org.uk/issues/Syria