It is simply incorrect to say Britain is failing to assist Syrian refugees

The migration crisis in Europe is a humanitarian disaster, caused by the civil wars in nations like Syria and Libya which have directly contributed to millions of people becoming displaced and seeking safe haven in other countries. This is the largest movement of refugees in Europe since the Second World War.

The migration crisis has had a direct impact on our lives in Kent, showing that conflicts in the middle east and north Africa are not just disputes between far away peoples, but major problems that exist right on our doorstep. Kent County Council has found homes for young unaccompanied people who have arrived at Dover and the Channel Tunnel and claimed asylum. The government has provided additional financial resources to support this work, and had also encouraged other counties to do more to help. The existence of the Calais Jungle camp has caused major disruptions to cross border traffic and trade. Our government has provided money and resources to support the French authorities in their policing of this issue. As well as providing additional security measures to protect the tunnel and the port, we also want to encourage the migrants to claim asylum in France, which is a safe country.

There has also been a broader debate about what the UK is doing to alleviate this problem.  We have doubled our direct aid for the Syrian crisis to £2.3 billion, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.  This support has reached hundreds of thousands of people, and is the largest response in terms of aid of any country in the world, except the United States of America.

We have established a new resettlement scheme focused on children at risk in the Middle East and North Africa, the first of its kind focused on the region and which will see up to 3,000 people, of all nationalities, relocated to the UK over the next four years. We have worked closely with the UNHCR to develop this scheme and it reflects their advice on how best to safeguard the children caught up in these appalling conflicts.

This scheme, along with the UK's existing programmes, will result in thousands of children being brought to the UK over the next four years. In the last three months of 2015 we resettled 1,085 refugees under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Scheme, over half of whom were children.  Our government has also established a £10m Refugee Children Fund focused specifically on the needs of children in Europe.  Save the Children, along with the UNHCR and the International Rescue Committee will administer this £10m fund. This includes identifying vulnerable children, providing for their immediate support, referral to specialist care and assistance with family reunification.

In addition to this, we have made a commitment to provide asylum to 20,000 people over the next four years from Syria, directly from the United Nations refugee camps in the region. It is right that our efforts are targeted in this way. We want to encourage people to seek help from the UN in safe areas as close as possible to where they lived, rather than by make dangerous journeys into Europe often putting themselves at the mercy of people smuggling gangs.

Copyright 2021 Damian Collins. All rights reserved

Promoted by Stephen James for and on behalf of Damian Collins, both of Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association both at 4 West Cliff Gardens, Folkestone, Kent CT20 1SP


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