Young leaders from Croydon Citizens put up tents outside Croydon council yesterday to draw attention to Citizens UK’s campaign to resettle at least 1500 refugees in the UK. The students, from Croydon College, held signs saying ‘BE THE FIRST’ in order to encourage leader of the council Cllr Tony Newman to make Croydon the first Labour council to agree to resettle 50 Syrian refugees.
A delegation then delivered a letter to Cllr Newman requesting a meeting in January to discuss this important issue.
Shanice Henry, a student from Croydon College and a Croydon Citizens leader said:
“The UK is the 6th richest country in the world and we need to be doing our fair share to resettle vulnerable refugees. Croydon is a welcoming borough that is proud of its diversity and we need to be at the forefront of this campaign.”
The conflict in Syria has created an unprecedented refugee crisis in the Middle East. There are now more than 3 million refugees from Syria alone – greater than the total population of Wales! The UK has been very reluctant to offer resettlement opportunities, and has resettled less than a hundred people from Syria through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation programme so far.
There is currently a quota of 750 refugees to be resettled in the UK every year. In the lead up to the general election, Citizens UK is calling for that quota to be increased to at least 1500.
Citizens UK is calling for local authorities to pledge to resettle 50 refugees and then work with us, the UN and the UK government to make it happen. If just 15 UK local authorities agree to take on 50 refugees, we could double the number of refugees resettled in the UK annually.
The Leader of Kingston Council, Cllr Kevin Davis, was the first Conservative leader to commit to the scheme and Croydon Citizens hope that Croydon will be the first Labour council.