15 March 2016
Faith leaders and MPs call on government to admit 50,000 Syrian refugees on fifth anniversary of Syria conflict
Civil society leaders, including Tim Farron MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party, today (15 March) marked the fifth anniversary of the Syrian conflict by calling on the British government to admit more Syrian refugees. They stated that offering sanctuary to 50,000 Syrians would only represent a tiny percentage of those already helped by Germany, and that the UK should take its fair share of Syrian refugees.
They also called on the government to uphold British values, and lift blocks on local authorities helping Syrian refugees. Thousands of people and local authorities up and down the country have signed up to help Syrian refugees, however their efforts are being hampered by central government. In a telling sign of popular support for the campaign, Citizens UK reports that there are significantly more people in the UK offering to help resettle Syrians than there are Syrians to resettle.
Citizens UK has calculated that if the UK were to take 50,000 refugees over five years, it would represent only four Syrian families per year in each constituency. 34 groups across the UK are taking action this week to press for more help for Syrian refugees, groups will call on their local MPs to sign the Citizens UK Resettlement Commitment. In signing the Commitment, the MP pledges to do all in their power to ensure the government commits to resettling 50,000 Syrian refugees, including tabling questions in parliament, supporting changes which would promote a greater welcoming of refugees, and supporting local organisations to establish Refugee Welcome committees.
Father Simon Cuff, a leader with Citizens UK, said: “We are asking that the UK is allowed to play its fair share and increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled to 50,000 over the course of Parliament – that’s just 4 families per constituency per year over five years and only 5% of the number already resettled by Germany in one year alone. We thank the Government for committing to resettle 20,000 but as a country with one of the strongest economies in the world, and a proud tradition of offering sanctuary to those fleeing the horrors of war, we can and should do more.”
Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, added: “Today marks 5 years since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, yet the refugee crisis is worse than ever. Jewish teaching demands that we find ways of alleviating the suffering, and it is in the name of our faith that we call on the British government to take in 50,000.”
Citizens UK has seen huge levels of public support for refugees; thousands of people have signed up to help Syrian refugees through the Refugees Welcome website, including 727 landlords who have offered their properties to local authorities to house Syrian refugees.
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