Today the first resettled refugee families from Syria have arrived in the UK to begin rebuilding their lives in safety, the Government has announced.
Those admitted under the Government’s Vulnerable Person’s Relocation scheme will be granted five years’ Humanitarian Protection. They will be able to access to public funds, the labour market and have the possibility of family reunion.
In January, the Government committed to offering resettlement places to some of the most vulnerable refugees fleeing Syria.
We had been calling on the Government since July 2013 to work with the UN Refugee Agency to offer a lifeline to people who are struggling to survive in makeshift shelters in the region’s freezing conditions: torture survivors in need of specialist help, women at risk of sexual violence and families with children in need of special assistance.
Today marks an extremely significant watershed in the UK’s response to the humanitarian catastrophe gripping Syria and the surrounding region.
The arrival of the first refugees for resettlement will transform, if not save people’s lives.
Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “The Government has insisted from the outset that this programme will be needs rather than number based, so it’s disappointing to hear that it will only support several hundred people over the next three years when the on going need is clearly colossal.
“Over 2.5 million refugees have now fled the conflict and as a result, UNHCR is now calling on governments around the world to help resettle 130,000 people over the next three years.
“We hope the UK Government will be bold and ambitious in its response to this call and encourage other countries to act similarly. The world must not turn its back on Syria’s refugees.”
Image courtesy of UNHCR UK.