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UK and EU 'must do more' to help refugees

The head of the Refugee Council has called on the government to increase the number of resettlement places it offers to refugees.

Read: UK offers up to 750 resettlement places for refugees

Refugee Council chief executive Maurice Wren said Britain has a proud tradition of protecting refugees and it must increase the opportunities afforded to those attempting to flee persecution.

The UK and wider EU can and should increase the number of resettlement places they provide.

Resettlement is a vital protection tool for refugees whose lives and liberty are at risk; a long term solution for refugees and an expression of solidarity with developing countries who host the majority of the world's refugees.

We must do all we can to help. For some children, a resettlement place in the UK would give them their first ever night's sleep on a mattress in a real bed, access to running water and simply, the hope of a better future.

EU member states resettle 5,500 refugees each year

The whole of the European Union offers 5,500 resettlement places each year, significantly less than the USA or Australia, according to the UN.

Read: Call to increase number of refugees in the UK

  • EU member states offer 5,500 places
  • Out of the EU, Sweden offers the most: 1,900 places
  • The UK offers up to 750 places per year
  • The United States offers 70,000 places
  • Australia offers 20,000 places
  • Canada offers 7,100 places

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Call to increase number of refugees resettled in the UK

The Refugee Council is calling for the government to increase the number of places it provides to refugees fleeing persecution from across the world.

The UK currently accepts up to 750 refugees per year.

On the 10th anniversary of the UK resettling refugees under the UN's Gateway Protection Programme (GPP), the Refugee Council has urged the Government to do more to help vulnerable people.

Under the GPP system, the UK accepts up to 750 refugees from around the world every year for resettlement.

The Home Office said it has accepted more than 3,000 individuals under the GPP scheme since 2010.

Tory MP accuses Cameron of 'posturing' over refugees

A Tory backbencher accused David Cameron of "pure political posturing and tokenism". Credit: PA

David Cameron has been accused of "political posturing" after the Government confirmed plans to accept "several hundred" of the most vulnerable refugees from the Syrian conflict in a bid to head off a damaging backbench revolt.

The change of heart by the coalition - confirmed by Home Secretary Theresa May in a Commons statement ahead of an opposition day debate on the issue - was broadly welcomed by MPs on all sides of the House.

Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen said Britain had already donated £600 million - more than the rest of the EU put together - and that admitting a few hundred people would make little difference to such a vast refugee crisis.

"It is pure political posturing and tokenism. I think that people can see the political expediency of the u-turn," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.

UN Refugee Agency welcomes Syria refuge programme

The UN Refugee Agency in the UK has welcomed the Government's plans to provide refuge to the "most vulnerable" Syrians.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Home Secretary Theresa May said the UK would not be signing up to a quota scheme because "we want to focus our assistance on the most vulnerable people".

UNHCR's Representative to the UK, Roland Schilling, said: "We welcome the announcement of the UK government to provide refuge to some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees, in cooperation with UNHCR.

“This decision will help to provide much needed solutions for vulnerable Syrian refugees many of whom have been deeply traumatised and face immense hardship.

"It is also a concrete and important gesture of solidarity and burden sharing with the countries neighbouring Syria as they continue to bear the brunt of the refugee crisis."

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Govt programme launched to help 'vulnerable' Syrians

Home Secretary Theresa May has outlined the Government's plan to help the most vulnerable Syrians find safety in the UK.

She told the House of Commons: "Our country has a proud tradition of providing protection to those in need. And where there are particularly difficult cases of vulnerable refugees, who are at grave risk, we are ready to look at those cases."

She added: "The Government will be launching a new programme to provide emergency sanctuary in the UK for displaced Syrians who are particularly vulnerable."

Home Secretary: Syrian refugee crisis is 'immense'

Home Secretary Theresa May has told the House of Commons the scale of the Syrian refugee crisis is "immense".

Home Secretary Theresa May addresses the Commons on the Syrian Refugee crisis.

She said: "The greatest contribution we can make is to work to end the conflict altogether, using UK diplomacy and our international influence to support the negotiations taking place in Geneva."

She added the the Government's goal was that of a "peaceful settlement" and that the £600m already given to the Syrian relief effort was the UK's largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.

Govt statement on Syrian refugees at 12.30pm

The Labour whips' office in the House of Commons has tweeted that the Home Secretary will make a statement about Syrian refugees today at 12.30pm before Prime Minister's Questions:

UK to admit 'most vulnerable' refugees from Syria

Britain is to take in some of the most vulnerable refugees from the Syrian civil war.

The most vulnerable refugees include:

  • Torture victims
  • Abandoned children
  • Victims of sexual assaults

The UK is not signing up to take a quota of refugees under the United Nations sanctuary scheme to resettle up to 30,000 vulnerable Syrians in Western nations, but Nick Clegg said the UN High Commission for Refugees backs the Government's plans.

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