Only around 24 Syrians have received a resettlement place in the UK under the Government’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme to date it has been revealed, despite the total number of Syrian refugees continuing to grow.
This January, the UK Government announced it would set up a resettlement programme designed to help some of the most vulnerable refugees struggling to survive in the region find safety, following a campaign led by us, Amnesty International and a coalition of refugee organisations.
However, in an answer to a parliamentary question last month, the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire stated that just 24 Syrian refugees had arrived under the VPR scheme.
Since the VPR scheme was announced, UNHCR have issued a further call for governments around the world to help resettle 130,000 refugees. Other governments, including Germany and Austria, have responded by dramatically increasing the numbers of places they are offering.
The UK Government, however, has never put a figure on the number of refugees it plans to assist, instead claiming the VPR scheme will operate on a ‘needs basis’.
There are now over 2.7 million Syrian refugees.
Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “It’s disappointing to hear that the UK has so far yet to offer enough resettlement places to fill a bus when we should be offering entire plane loads of seats to safety.
“Each resettlement place will change or even possible save a life; offering torture survivors and women affected by sexual violence the chance to rebuild their lives in safety.
“That’s why the Government must send a clear message to Syrian refugees: we know you’re still suffering, we have not forgotten you, and we will go the extra mile to help you find safety.”
Photo courtesy of UNHCR