British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced his plan to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees.
Cameron announced the details about his plan for accepting more refugees in today’s parliamentary session. He vowed to accept 20,000 refugees over the next four and a half year. The refugees, Cameron said would be taken from the refugee camps along the borders of Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Priority is to be given to the ‘vulnerable’ children and orphans.
The first year funds for this are to be drawn from the international aids budget. The following years’ financial plans will be decided on later with the help of local councils.
David Cameron said in Parliament that Britain has a ‘moral responsibility’. “Britain will play its part alongside our other European partners but because we’re not part of the EU’s borderless Schengen agreement or its relocation initiative Britain is able to decide its own approach.”
He added: “We will continue to show the world that this is a country of extraordinary compassion always standing up for our values and helping those in need.”
Five-year humanitarian protection visas will be granted to the refugees who will be chosen under the UN procedures. The UN High Commissioner for refugees is going to be responsible for carrying out checks to determine which candidates are ‘most in need’.
Cameron emphasised that Britain would not be involved in an EU-wide system to help refugees already in Europe.
Also today, French President Francois Hollande announced that the country will host 24,000 refugees in the next two years.
While Tory MP’s were pleased with Cameron’s initiative, Labour’s Harriet Harman said that although the news was good, more immediate action was needed and wondered whether Britain could accommodate more than 4000 refugees in a year. Another Labour MP, Gerald Kaufman said that the UK’s effort were still in contrast with Germany’s, who recently took in 10,000 refugees in just one day and have not put a limit on the number of refugees they will take.