The ‘worst refugee crisis since World War 2’ – the conflict in Syria – has continued to dominate the headlines, with solutions seeming less visible than ever and the number of people who have had to flee their homes estimated at 10 million. The global and European response to World War 2 was the Geneva Refugee Convention; in 2014, however, the current crisis on the doorstep of Europe is evoking a much more mixed and muted response. The numbers of refugees accepted annually in the UK under the UNHCR resettlement scheme stood at 750 for some years now; the Syria crisis led to an urgent appeal for the developed world to accept small numbers of the most vulnerable from the bulging refugee camps in the Middle East. The UK government initially refused to take part in this scheme, but at the start of 2014 we were proud to be part of a broad coalition which successfully campaigned for a reversal of that decision, and so the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme was introduced with the assurance that UK cities would allocate resettlement places to ‘several hundred’ over a few years. The tangible results in 2014 were small, with just over 150 resettled in a few places.
However, as the extent of the crisis has deepened, we are seeing a Europe that will never look the same again. While countries such as Greece, Italy, Germany and Sweden have received much larger groups of Syrians, the commitment of UK and Irish governments has increased to 20000 and 4000 respectively. In UK, grassroots support and advocacy has led many councils to chance their stand on receioving groups of Syrians. Increasingly, we are seeing local groups work with local councils to send a simple message to the Home Office: we want to welcome a group of resettled Syrians here. This is a campaign that has reached far beyond the ‘usual suspects’ and we are confident that it will be something that grows in support and reach during the months and years ahead as local communities see beyond austerity and respond to a deep sense of common humanity. We are very proud to be connected with Coventry, Bradford, Sheffield, Hull, Glasgow and Manchester – all involved with resettlement of refugees, some under the Syrian VPR scheme, and we are actively supporting information and briefing sessions in many other cities and towns throughout UK and in Ireland.
Latest Syria Posts from across the City of Sanctuary Network
World on our doorstep - "Horsforth Refugee Camp" in Leeds
If Syria Were London
This moving video was shown to 1200 students in Stockport about what life might be life for a Syrian child.…Posted by: Manchester
City of Sanctuary Charter launched at AGM
On Wednesday 5th July at the AGM, City of Sanctuary proudly launched its charter which crystallizes who and what we are, our values and principles and will guide us to reach our vision.
Cultural Evening and Dinner
After six months of Hello Preston!’s family-learning project, a celebratory Cultural Evening and Dinner was held on Monday 8th May.
Hello Preston! Family Integration Project
Starting a new life in a vastly different part of the world and having to learn to read, write and speak a new language can pose great challenges: anxiety, fear, lack of confidence and worries.
March Monthly Digest
April is finally here as we can see the first signs of warm days in Preston! If you missed any of our posts from March, this is what happened in Preston City of Sanctuary: Preston City of Sanctuary Open Meeting On Monday 13th at Preston Town Hall, Preston City of Sanctuary had an open meeting with charities, faith groups, local schools’ representatives and members of the public. It was the first meeting after the exhibition “Escape to Safety”, kindly provided by Global Link…
Hackney Borough of Sanctuary support for Syrian families
Hackney Borough of Sanctuary recently held an annual general meeting on 15 February 2017 to discuss how to give support to the process of bringing Syrian families to Hackney as part of Hackney Council’s commitment to bring families under the UNHCR programme.Posted by: Hackney
Churches across Ireland and UK - stand up for justice and unity
Taking the lead from Waterford, churches up and down Ireland, UK and beyond are joining forces to ring out their…Posted by: Waterford
Refugee children are at risk on the streets of Paris
The Refugee Rights Data Project has released statistics from their most recent field research, conducted in January 2017 on the streets…
Mapping Sanctuary in Edinburgh
As more refugees and asylum seekers arrive in Edinburgh, many brilliant initiatives have sprung up to provide a welcome across the city. As more groups are stepping forward to offer help and support – from providing bikes and language lessons through to advice on navigating the education and health system – the network becomes wider but more difficult to visualise.Posted by: City Template