7 January 2016

A coalition of 27 aid and refugee agencies has called on the UK to improve the government’s response to the refugee crisis, while a report from the House of Commons International Development Committee (IDC) has released its conclusions and recommendations on the Syrian refugee crisis.

In an open letter from NGOs, coordinated by ECRE member the British Refugee Council, the British government’s response to the refugee crisis was described as ‘clearly inadequate’ and it was said that the UK’s commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years, while welcome, was ‘too slow, too low and too narrow’.

The letter urges that the UK takes a fair and proportionate number of refugees, that safe and legal routes to the UK, as well as to Europe, be established, and that there should be fair procedures to determine eligibility for international protection.    

The recommendations from the House of Commons committee also included suggestions for further action from the British government, namely that 3,000 unaccompanied children are resettled in the UK on top of the current resettlement commitment of 20,000 people. It also branded the substantial reduction in state funding of English language classes as ‘counterproductive’ to the integration of refugees, and called for these cuts to be reconsidered.

The report’s conclusions also commended the UK’s commitment to funding humanitarian assistance in Syria and the neighbouring region, and asked the government to ensure that other donors honour their financial pledges made in Addis Ababa, with only 4 EU countries currently meeting agreed aid targets.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 8 January 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.