Recently, there’s been a spotlight on a particular group of people searching for a safe place to call home: those crossing the English Channel on small, flimsy, and often overcrowded boats. They are men, women, and children - everyday people like you and me—who have no other choice but to risk their lives in search of safety.
Thanks to an important refugee convention people have the right to seek asylum in this way. Yet, instead of focussing on tangible ways to help, our leaders have prioritised measures to prevent vulnerable people from reaching safety. This focus on border control without establishing safe and legal pathways to protection has forced many people to take dangerous journeys.
What Needs to Change?
So, how can it be fixed? Ultimately, ending the conflicts and violence that causes mass displacement will be the real solution. But until that happens, the UK needs to play its part in providing a sanctuary for people who need it. We need more safe and legal routes to the UK for people seeking safety and refugee resettlement is one of the best solutions.
In 2015, David Cameron committed to resettling 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. Since then, the Government has resettled around 5,000 of the world’s most vulnerable refugees each year. However, the scheme was frozen in March as a result of the Covid crisis – not a single person has been resettled here in over 6 months! If the Government can organise travel corridors for holidays, we think it can arrange flights for refugees that are literally life-saving.
This resettlement scheme needs to reopen immediately as the first step to providing safe and legal routes to the UK for people seeking safety. That’s what needs to change.
So, What Exactly is Refugee Resettlement?
Resettlement gives refugees the chance to rebuild their lives. Once someone has been forced to seek refuge in a country that is not their home, resettlement gives them an option to seek longer-term safety in another country which has agreed to accept them. It offers the most vulnerable a safe route from their first country of refuge to permanent protection. Once refugees arrive, local authorities and communities are involved in supporting them, whether it's learning the local language, helping to find work, or integrating children into schools.
Resettlement is widely regarded as an important part of the solution to the refugee crisis. Evidence shows it offers social and economic benefits to both refugees and new host countries.
Take Action Now!
We have seen communities across the UK opening their doors to support people who need it. But now we need our leaders to step up and do more.
We need to unfreeze the resettlement scheme and then look to expand this.
It’s just one piece of the puzzle — but it’s a big piece that would make an incredible difference to the lives of the most vulnerable people.
Take action now. Click here to email your MP to demand a restart of refugee resettlement.
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