Amnesty International has asked the UK government to take in some of the most vulnerable refugees from Syria.
The human rights body is urging its supporters to write to Prime Minister David Cameron to ask that the UK offers sanctuary to some of the thousands of women, children, elderly people and torture victims who have fled Syria and are languishing in extremely overcrowded camps in neighbouring countries.
Out of the two million Syrians now registered as refugees, half are children. Nearly 5,000 Syrians are currently fleeing Syria every day, almost all of whom are hosted by countries in the immediate surrounding region, placing an overwhelming burden on them.
The UK government has made a commitment to provide £400 million in aid, but has so far made no offer to assist in relieving the pressure put on neighbouring countries by offering to take any refugees.
Jan Shaw, Refugee Programme Director at Amnesty International UK, said: “It’s shameful that the UK hasn’t offered to take a single Syrian refugee from the overflowing camps.
“We welcome the substantial financial aid that the UK government has pledged, but that should be as well as, not instead of, a pledge to take some of the most vulnerable people who are stuck in hellish, overcrowded conditions.”
Shaw added: “To provide money but turn our backs smacks of buck-passing, and meanwhile Syria’s neighbouring countries are buckling under the strain. It’s vital that some of the most vulnerable people in the camps are offered sanctuary here, in response to what Cameron himself termed ‘the refugee crisis of our time’.”