Refugee Action welcomes Scottish and Irish commitment to refugees

Last updated June 3, 2015Press release

Refugee Action welcomes increasing support being shown by political leadership throughout Ireland and the UK for resettlement programmes that would allow refugees facing a deadly journey across the Mediterranean another way to reach safety.

Today, when SNP ministers challenged Prime Minister David Cameron to do more in response to the Mediterranean Crisis during Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron suggested that the majority of those making the Mediterranean crossing were economic migrants, not refugees.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon this week in Brussels has said that Scotland recognises its obligation to refugees, and the Scottish Government is urging the UK Government to participate fully in joint EU relocation and resettlement proposals by the European Commission.

Ireland has also expressed its commitment to people seeking safety by voluntarily taking an additional 300 resettled refugees in 2015-16. The pledge, in response to the European Commission’s proposals, is in excess of the 272 proposed for Ireland and is in addition to the 220 resettlement places Ireland has already agreed for the year.

Refugee Action welcomes increasing support being shown by political leadership throughout Ireland and the UK for resettlement programmes that would allow refugees facing a deadly journey across the Mediterranean another way to reach safety.

Stephen Hale, Refugee Action Chief Executive, comments:

“It’s heartening to see Irish and Scottish political leaders recognising our responsibility to offer protection to those seeking refuge. Britain must now step up and do the right thing, and lead a unified UK by voluntarily committing to resettling people whose lives are at imminent risk.”

Hale continues:

“It’s confounding how David Cameron can be clear that the majority of those making the Mediterranean crossing do not have protection needs. Almost half of those who arrived to Europe by boat across the Med so far this year are from Syria or Eritrea, countries marred by war and extreme human rights abuses. For them, it’s not about seeking a better life. It’s about having any life at all.”

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