This month I was pleased to meet with Graham O’Neil from the Scottish Refugee Council. Graham and I discussed the plight of refugee’s going through the asylum process in the UK as well as the Syrian refugees who have been settled here in Edinburgh.
There are around 50 Syrians who are now living in Edinburgh through the Government’s Vulnerable Person Resettlement (VPR) Programme. Individuals and organisations are doing a wonderful job making these people feel at home in our city. Charities like the Welcoming Association in Edinburgh are doing great work providing English language courses as well as general skills such as: CV writing, communications, and interview training.
I recently welcomed the Government’s decision to take in 1,000 refugees before Christmas but I think they could be going much further and faster. I believe we should accept at least 20,000 refugees over the next two years, rather than five. I also believe that we should take in 3,000 vulnerable and unaccompanied children.
I would like to see the Prime Minister reach out to other European leaders and see that we take our fair share of those refugees already in Europe, particularly from the Southern European countries that are bearing the brunt of this crisis. We also need a properly co-ordinated humanitarian response across Europe to assess the status of all refugees and provide proper refugee support.
You can watch a clip of my contribution to the Refugee Crisis debate from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jugAmlNroc
You can also visit the Scottish Refugee Council and see the excellent work they do: http://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/