AS MORAY PREPARES to accept its first Syrian refugee families, national charities are criticising the UK Government for a response they say is simply “not good enough”.
Moray was one of the first local authority regions to react to the developing crisis last year and set up a response committee consisting of representatives from many different parts of the community.
Moray Supports Refugees will be on hand to ensure the four Syrian families being relocated into the Forres area by next month will receive as much support from within the community as possible, a spokeswoman saying: “We are here to support people forced from their homes due to war and persecution. The current crisis in the Middle East affects millions who are denied the basic human rights to live in peace and safety.”
However, 27 not-for-profit charity groups covering the entire country – including Oxfam and Amnesty International – insist that the UK response to the crisis is “too slow and too narrow”.
They are urging PM David Cameron to do much more – although their comments will not be welcome by many at a time when the country is struggling to offer support to hundreds of families affected by flooding in the north of England, borders and north east Scotland.
Their call came in an open letter through the British Refugee Council and says that while the UK agreement to take 20,000 refugees over five years was a “welcome first step” it did not go far enough. In the letter the charities say: “Last year’s announcement that the UK will resettle 20,000 Syria refugees was a welcome first step, but given the numbers searching for safety this is clearly inadequate.”
Responding a government spokesman said: “The terrible images we have seen in the last year have moved us all – that is why we are resettling people directly from the countries neighbouring Syria, where so many have fled.
“The UK is also providing aid to those most in need, both in Syria and in Europe. It is essential that we focus our support where we can make the biggest impact.”