Refugees should be allowed to reach safety legally and by plane, the Refugee Council has said today.
Ahead of a special UN conference on Syrian refugees on 30 March, the charity is calling for Britain to offer more refugees safe passage.
At the conference in Geneva, the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is calling for countries to offer safe pathways to refugees fleeing Syria’s brutal war, which is heading into its sixth year.
Britain’s Minister for Syrian Refugees Richard Harrington is attending the conference and will have the chance to offer refugees fleeing Syria’s brutal conflict more safe and legal options for international travel.
At the moment, refugees fleeing war and persecution have little option for safe, legal international travel.
When war breaks out, countries like Britain often close down refugees’ legal options by refusing to issue them travel visas. This means they can’t get on planes.
Other harsh rules stop refugees joining their loved ones who have already made it to safety in other countries and there simply aren’t enough resettlement places to go around.
This is how refugees can end up in smugglers’ hands.
But there is a way out.
On the 30th March, the British Government has the opportunity to provide safe passage for refugees.
Quite simply, we could let them fly.
Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “It’s a moral absurdity that countries like Britain force refugees to navigate a horrendous Hunger Games style deadly obstacle course to reach us in order to access the protection they’re legally entitled to.
“This approach is utterly inhumane and completely untenable. But our leaders have other options: we could let refugees fly to safety.
“The Refugee Council is calling for Britain to answer the UN’s plea and to allow more refugees to travel here safely and legally by issuing humanitarian visas, by allowing more refugees to reunite with their loved ones already in Britain and by resettling more people.
“It’s time to live up to Britain’s proud tradition of protecting people fleeing persecution by offering more refugees safe passage.”
Now is our chance. On 30th March international leaders will make decisions affecting the lives of Syrian refugees. Your support could help save lives.