Today marks the fourth anniversary of the conflict in Syria. We, as representatives of civil society, are asking government to act on our concerns and grant a lifeline to a small number of women and children who desperately need the sanctuary the UK could provide. Millions of people have been displaced; two-thirds of the refugees are children and young people.
Neighbouring countries such as The Lebanon, a country of similar size to Wales, have been flooded with refugees. Whilst the UK public and government have donated huge amounts in aid what is now required is direct action. Less than 150 Syrian families have been granted sanctuary through the special government scheme set up to offer support to the most needy. This is a pitiful number, and we fear that history will judge it a shameful stain if we don’t step up now and offer more help.
Reports of children dying in the camps due to freezing temperatures and inadequate facilities indicate how dire the situation is.
Working together with Citizens UK members from across the country, we are reaching out to local council leaders and MPs, urging them to accept a small quota of UN refugees into their community. Ironically councils can get European Union funding to cover costs, and groups up and down the country from all backgrounds and faiths are pledging to welcome and support the new arrivals in any way they can.
Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive Liberal Judaism
Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon
Iman Suliman Gani, Muslim Chaplain of St. George's Hospital