Deputy Prime Minister declares support for refugees 11th May 2011: Cutting the 60th anniversary cake at the Refugee Council Day Centre, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has emphasised the importance of protecting people fleeing persecution and conflict.
Speaking out in support for refugees in the UK, Clegg said: “For my part, we have never shied away from taking the right stance on asylum, even when it has been controversial to do so. Now, in Government, our approach has three key strands: one, sorting out the inefficiency in the system. Two, ending the unfair practices that remain. Three, acting internationally to help as many refugees as we can.
“A country like the UK should be aiming for nothing less than the most compassionate, efficient, dignified asylum system in the world.”
In his closing remarks he added: “I hope our first year shows that we, like you, want to reaffirm the UK’s place as a caring and compassionate nation. No one should ever be forced from their home. But when it happens they must know that nations like ours will provide the safety and security all people deserve. That’s a promise we made 60 years ago. It is important today as it was then.”
In response, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “Sixty years on from the UN Convention for Refugees, it is hugely encouraging the Deputy Prime Minister has spoken out in support of refugees, and publicly recognised the importance of continuing a great British tradition of protecting people fleeing conflicts around the world today.
“The British government has a vital role to play, not just as a conscience of the world leading the way in humanitarian aid and intervention, but in providing safety to people who make it to the UK having fled in fear of their lives. We are heartened by the Deputy Prime Minister’s words and we will continue working with him to make the changes we urgently want to see to create a more humane asylum system in our country.”
The Refugee Council event marked the 60th birthday of the charity, and the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention for Refugees, which was created in response to the atrocities of World War II to protect people whose lives are at risk in their own countries.