As a supporter of the Refugee Council, I have been backing their call on the UK Government to help the most vulnerable refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria to find safety in the UK.
The Prime Minister has said that Britain is not a country which will stand back and do nothing and it is true that the UK has been extremely generous in contributing to the relief effort. But this crisis is of such enormous magnitude that we need full commitment. We must do everything within our means to help people find safety and aid is not the only answer.
This global crisis requires a global solution and we must play our part by assisting those most in need; women at risk of sexual violence in camps on the border, families with children, torture survivors who cannot get the care they need.
Given the scale and gravity of the crisis, a global refugee resettlement programme for the most vulnerable people trapped in the region must also be part of the solution. The Government is capable of providing this and must do so urgently.
The UN High Commission for Refugees has called on western governments to offer 30,000 resettlement places; and we must accept our share.
Britain has a long and proud tradition of protecting refugees and offering safe haven to those fleeing unimaginable horrors. We’ve done it before, offering temporary resettlement places to Kosovan, Bosnian and Vietnamese people in their hour of greatest need. As the largest refugee group in the world and with conditions in the region worsening, this is the Syrian people’s hour of need.
Refugees running for their lives need our compassion and our understanding, but above all, they need our protection. Now is the time to offer a place of safety to those fleeing the Syrian conflict. Their lives depend on it.
Vivienne Westwood is a supporter of the Refugee Council