UNITED NATIONS called on the Tory government yesterday to double the amount of refugees admitted under resettlement programmes while slamming the “irresponsible” hate speech from some politicians and sections of the media.
UN High Commission for Refugees assistant Volker Turk said accepting around 10,000 refugees a year would be a “step change” for Britain and would double the current rate.
So far the government has committed to taking in 20,000 refugees by 2020 under a scheme to help those fleeing the war in Syria, with 5,453 granted humanitarian protection under the programme in the year ending March 2017, and 3,000 vulnerable children and family members.
Mr Turk, who was in London speaking to ministers, said he hoped the government would expand its programme “significantly” after 2020, and have a “regular resettlement programme open to people fleeing trouble spots around the world, not just Syria.”
He said: “I think we have to be very honest about the need for countries to contribute and to step up.”
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen attacked the government for its “poor” response to the refugee crisis.
She said it has “effectively turned its back on some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, and failed properly to live up to its obligations to protect those fleeing conflict and persecution.”
Ms Allen warned that the crisis would not go away until Prime Minister Theresa May and other world leaders started working together “to genuinely share responsibility for hosting refugees and provide more secure and legal routes to safety.”
The government did not respond to a request for comment.