'Moral obligation' to help Syrian refugee crisis says Warwick and Leamington MP - The Leamington Observer

'Moral obligation' to help Syrian refugee crisis says Warwick and Leamington MP

Leamington Editorial 10th Sep, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016   0

REFUGEES fleeing war-torn Syria could be offered a new life in Warwick district.

MP Chris White said Britain had a ‘moral obligation’ to help the thousands of desperate people trying to escape war and persecution in the Middle Eastern country, which has become a stronghold of Islamic State.

The Warwick and Leamington MP – who revealed a large number of constituents had been in touch about the crisis – said: “Our country has a moral obligation to assist those in need, particularly the most vulnerable people fleeing persecution.

“This ongoing tragedy has complex roots, which require long term solutions. However, I strongly believe the current situation warrants an immediate response.

“We are a compassionate country and community and I believe we should lead by example – on both a national and local level – providing support to these vulnerable people who are in desperate need.

“I understand Stratford District Council has already taken steps to facilitate support and I would hope Warwick district will follow their lead by working with charities and religious groups of all faiths to see what can be done in terms of support and to provide a conduit for people who have offered their assistance in this crisis.”

Prime Minister David Cameron this week pledged to resettle more than 20,000 refugees in the UK between now and 2020.

But rather than taking in those already in Europe – whose plight has been the focus of news reports across the world – he said Britain would take refugees directly from camps in countries bordering Syria with priority on orphaned and vulnerable children.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper had previously called on local authorities up and down the land to take in refugee families.

In Warwickshire that would mean the county and district councils working together – with the county having responsibility for issues such as education and health while the districts are responsible for housing.

A Warwick District Council spokeswoman said: “The district council has received no immediate request for us to house any number of refugees.

“We are waiting for further guidance from the Home Office and will act accordingly when that guidance is received.”

Meanwhile, neighbouring Stratford District Council said it was ready to play its part in the crisis.

Council chiefs pledged to support the cause following a flood of calls from residents asking how they could help.

They have agreed to create a collection centre for donations of everything from clothing to toiletries, and said they would work with others doing the same.

The authority has also promised to use its resources to support government initiatives while an information sheet telling residents what they can do to help is set to be produced.

The authority is not yet in a position to say if, or how many, families it would take, but council chiefs have discussed how vacant holiday lets could be used and they have also agreed to help residents who feel they could potentially house refugees.

Other countries have also pledged to take in refugees as Europe continues to struggles with the migrant crisis.

French president Francois Hollande has promised to welcome some 24,000 refugees, while German chancellor Angela Merkel said there was no legal limit to the number of asylum seekers her country would take – with 18,000 arriving over the weekend alone.


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