Long gives support to Syrian Refugee Programme

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long has declared her support for the British Government’s participation in the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Syrian Refugee Programme and has signed an Opposition Motion to be debated in Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday).

The scheme seeks to encourage states to provide resettlement by the end of 2014 for some of the most vulnerable people affected by the on-going humanitarian crisis in the region.

More than 100,000 people have now died and over 2.3 million have fled the three-year-old conflict, the fastest outflowing of refugees from a country since the Rwandan genocide. The vast majority are being hosted by a small number of neighbouring states, who are struggling to cope with the influx.

Mrs Long said it was essential the UK offered resettlement places to help alleviate the crisis.

“Anyone looking at the pictures that have emerged from Syria cannot fail to be horrified by the suffering people there are going through, a suffering which many have sought to escape. In the same week Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated, it is easy to see echoes of the past in this situation.

“Arguments against supporting the Refugee Programme due to the cost are made redundant when they come from the same quarters as argued for supporting costly military action there only months ago.

“Rather than closing boundaries to refugees, the British Government should be showing leadership and devoting the appropriate resources to help. I certainly commend the Government for what it has done so far in terms of the humanitarian relief effort but it is clear resettlement for some people is required. I hope the British Government will play as active a role in that as it has done in other similar situations in the past.”


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