The Government has failed to make a meaningful commitment to help more refugees reach safety in Britain.
Speaking following two days of talks with other European leaders, David Cameron said Britain was playing a ‘leading role’ in tackling the escalating humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean through its contribution to the search and rescue operation and through an expansion of Britain’s resettlement programmes.
However, it soon became apparent that Britain would only be offering safety to 1,000 refugees a year; an increase of only around 100 places on Britain’s existing refugee resettlement programmes.
Other countries, including Germany, are offering thousands of additional places for refugees.
The failure to offer a substantial number of refugees alternative routes to safety followed news earlier this week that Britain was scaling back its contribution to the search and rescue effort.
This month, figures from the UN’s Refugee Agency confirmed that the number of people having to flee their home had reached historic levels, with around 60 million people across the world being forcibly displaced.
Refugee Council Head of Advocacy Dr Lisa Doyle said: “Disappointingly, it appears that despite being faced with one of the worst global refugee crises ever, David Cameron has failed to make a meaningful commitment to help more refugees reach safety in Britain.
“While other countries are pulling their weight by resettling tens of thousands of people, it appears the British Government is content with adding only around 100 additional places to Britain’s existing refugee resettlement programmes: the same sort of number of people who could fit on double decker bus.
“We need to see a new, substantial pledge towards resettling thousands of refugees. For many of the world’s most desperate people, it’s quite simply a matter of life and death.”