Letters: As faith leaders, we urge the Government to resettle thousands more Syrian refugees

Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders join the call for the UK to do more

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The Independent Online

Dear Prime Minister,

As faith leaders in the UK we write to you today to urge you to increase the number of resettlement places available to Syrian refugees, in response to one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes of our time.

At least 3.2 million people, Muslims, Christians and minorities, have now fled Syria. The vast majority remain in the region in neighbouring countries which are at the point of collapse from the sheer numbers they are hosting. Many have experienced persecution, torture or sexual violence, sometimes because of their religion or ethnicity, or have disabilities or other urgent medical needs which make them particularly vulnerable. Some will not survive the winter.

We are proud of the way in which the UK has led the world in its humanitarian aid contribution to the Syria crisis. However, our help cannot end with aid. We urge you to show the same leadership on resettlement so that more of Syria’s most vulnerable refugees can find sanctuary here in the UK.

We welcomed the announcement, a year ago, of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme but we are disappointed that only 90 refugees have so far been offered a safe haven here in the UK via this route. One year on, we urge you to take this opportunity to commit to offering resettlement places to thousands, not hundreds, of refugees from Syria.

In the face of a desperate and growing need, we believe that Great Britain has a moral responsibility to continue our noble tradition as a compassionate and welcoming safe haven for those in need of protection.

As Prime Minister, you have the power to offer hope to people whose suffering is almost unimaginable to us. We ask you to do this today.

Yours sincerely,

The Most Reverend Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Head of Jewish Reform Movement

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General, The Muslim Council of Britain and Co-Chair, Christian Muslim Forum

The Right Reverend Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs

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