Helping others is part of the British DNA: Refugee Council

67 per cent are sympathetic to refugees coming to Britain

21st April 2011: Claiming helping others is part of the British DNA, the Refugee Council UK has asserted on the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention for Refugees, most Britons still defend Britain’s role as the protector of the most vulnerable.

The council has asserted most Britons are proud to be British (84 per cent) and believe protecting the most vulnerable is a core British value (82 per cent)
Two thirds of Britons (67 per cent) are sympathetic to refugees coming to Britain (74 per cent of women and 61 per cent of men)

Half of Britons (49 per cent) are proud of Britain’s role in drafting the UN Convention on Refugees

It has asserted negative attitudes to refugees are based on misunderstandings and confusion; and has added British people remain committed to the values Britain fought for in World War II.
`In response to the horrific atrocities of World War II, British lawyers played a key role in drafting the 1951 UN Convention for Refugees to protect people whose lives were at risk in their own countries.

`The findings of the survey for the Refugee Council carried out by Opinium Research, show that six out of ten (59 per cent) Britons believe that the UN Convention is just as relevant or more relevant for protecting people fleeing conflict today than it was in 1951,’ it asserted.

Chief Executive of the Refugee Council Donna Covey said: “British soldiers gave up their lives in World War II fighting to build a better world and protect others from persecution. It is a legacy that all British people should be proud of, and should serve to remind us that Britain still has an important role to play in offering safety to those forced to flee their homes to escape violence, torture and war in countries around the world today.

`How encouraging that, 60 years after the UN Convention for Refugees was created so many people in Britain remain sympathetic to refugees coming here, and that the majority believe protecting the most vulnerable is an intrinsic part of being British.”
`Today’s research also reveals that there is significant misunderstanding around what a refugee is, with many confusing them with economic migrants from Poland and Eastern Europe. Three quarters of Britons also wildly overestimate the small number of refugees granted asylum in the UK. In 2009, 4,175 individuals were granted refugee status, yet 44 per cent of Britons believe it was 100,000 or more.

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