Thank you for all of your emails and letters over the last few weeks about the ongoing refugee crisis.
As you know, the Tory government’s action on refugees simply does not match up to the scale of the crisis we are facing.
The brutal civil war in Syria, the turbulence in Libya and Iraq and ongoing human rights abuses in Eritrea have created the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. In Syria alone, almost 4 million people have left their homes and crossed the border – many seeking safety in camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Another 6 million have been internally displaced.
This has had a profound implication on the numbers of people arriving in Europe fleeing conflict, violence and persecution. Labour has been calling on the government to take more Syrian refugees for over 2 years and it is welcome that David Cameron has now bowed to public pressure and acknowledged Britain needs to do its bit.
However, the government’s plan of resettling 20,000 refugees over five years falls short of what is needed for Britain to show real leadership and fulfil its duty. It does not explain how many people Britain will accept in the coming weeks and months. Every day matters – five years will be too long for many trapped in camps or failing to find support having made the dangerous journey to Europe.
I will continue to push the government to take swift and decisive action on this issue.
There is also lots that we can do together to help those in need:
The City of Sanctuary movement is working closely with cities, such as Birmingham, to make them places of welcome and safety for those seeking sanctuary. You can find more about this work here.
The Independent Newspaper has also put together a list of practical ways that we can help those in need. You can find the list here.