Subscribe

UK's Cameron agrees to take in 'thousands more' Syrian refugees

After a disturbing photo of a young refugee killed fleeing violence in Syria was widely distributed, support for taking in more refugees has increased across Europe.

  • close
    British Prime Minister David Cameron speaking during a media conference at the conclusion of the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, Latvia. Official figures on Thursday Aug. 27, 2015 show Britain gained almost 330,000 people through migration in the year to March 31, the highest figure on record and a headache for the Conservative government amid a political storm about immigration.
    Mindaugas Kulbis/AP/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Prime Minister David Cameron agreed on Friday that Britain would take in "thousands more" Syrian refugees, after an outpouring of emotion over the image of a Syrian toddler lying dead on a Turkish beach put him under pressure to act.

Cameron gave no precise figures, but a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency told reporters in Geneva that the British move would improve the lives of 4,000 Syrians.

As Europe seems at a loss to cope with thousands of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa seeking safety or better lives on the continent, many at home and abroad had accused Cameron's government of being uncaring and inflexible.

Several of his own Conservative legislators and the human rights chief of the Council of Europe urged Britain to take in more refugees.

"Given the scale of the crisis and the suffering of people, today I can announce that we will do more in providing resettlement for thousands more Syrian refugees," Cameron told reporters in Lisbon after meeting his Portuguese counterpart.

About 5,000 Syrians who made their own way to Britain since the start of the war in their country have been granted asylum, and another 216 were brought to Britain under a U.N.-backed relocation scheme.

"We will accept thousands more under these existing schemes and we keep them under review," Cameron said, adding that the government would speak with humanitarian organizations and announce further details next week.

OTHERS MORE WELCOMING

Other European countries such as Germany and Sweden have taken in far more refugees than Britain in recent times, and London declined to take part in a proposed EU scheme that would allocate quotas to member states.

Germany alone expects 800,000 people to file for asylum this year. About 25,000 people applied for asylum in Britain in the 12 months to March, of whom two-fifths were granted some form of protection.

Cameron's announcement concerned only Syrians, the focus of popular anguish after the widespread publication of photographs of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler who drowned with his brother and mother as the family tried to cross from Turkey to Greece.

"We will continue with our approach of taking them (Syrian refugees) directly from refugee camps. This provides them with a more direct and safe route to the United Kingdom rather than risking the hazardous journey which has tragically cost so many of their lives," Cameron said.

Cameron had previously insisted that Britain was already doing its bit, not least by sending aid to Syrian refugee camps in the Middle East and dispatching the Royal Navy to the Mediterranean to help rescue migrants from unsafe boats.

(Additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva, writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK