Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith leaders have called on David Cameron to urgently increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the UK in response to ‘one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of our time’.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, Head of the Jewish Reform Movement Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and Co-Chair of the Christian Muslim Forum, express their support for a joint call from Amnesty International, the Refugee Council, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality, Islamic Relief and Cafod for the UK to do more to help Syria’s refugees find safety here.
The letter says:
In the face of a desperate and growing need, we believe that Great Britain has a moral responsibility to continue our noble tradition as a compassionate and welcoming safe haven for those in need of protection.
As Prime Minister, you have the power to offer hope to people whose suffering is almost unimaginable to us. We ask you to do this today.
The Prime Minister is under increasing pressure to offer a similar lifeline to more refugees from Syria, one year on from the Government’s promise to resettle some of Syria’s most vulnerable refugees.
The faith leaders’ letter follows in the wake of a similar call from leading British celebrities. All have been disappointed by the scale of the UK’s resettlement scheme, set up almost exactly a year ago. So far, the latest available figures show that just 90 people have arrived in Britain, with the Government insisting it will only help to resettle ‘several hundred’ refugees.
Meanwhile, as the conflict approaches its fifth year, the number of refugees continues to rise while conditions in Syria’s neighbouring countries worsen. The UN’s Refugee Agency UNHCR recently reported refugees being forced to survive in an increasingly precarious position, living in freezing conditions, with no access to functioning toilets.
Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “A year ago the British Government made a promise to some of Syria’s most vulnerable refugees. We promised them safety. We promised them hope. We promised them a future. If David Cameron fails to significantly increase the scale of Britain’s resettlement scheme he will have broken that promise.”