Press Release: Letter to the Prime Minister from Caabu and other agencies calls on UK to take refugees from Syria - published in the Independent

Posted by Caabu on 18 Jan 2014

Press Release: Letter to the Prime Minister from Caabu and other agencies calls on UK to take refugees from Syria - published in the Independent

Saturday 18 January

Caabu has joined numerous aid agencies and other organisations in a call for the UK to join the UN resettlement programme for Syrian refugees. Whilst the UK has an excellent and proud record of providing humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, it has a moral duty to assist them by taking in some of those most in need and vulnerable.

Caabu Director, Chris Doyle who signed the letter published in today’s Independent said that, “Britain cannot continue just to expect neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon to accommodate ever increasing numbers of refugees. Other countries must take them too and Britain should lead by example.  It is disgraceful that we have done so little so far, a stain on our record.”

The Letter in the Independent

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you on behalf of the most vulnerable refugees from Syria who are struggling to survive in crowded refugee camps and makeshift shelters. They have witnessed and survived unimaginable horrors. Meanwhile Syrians living in the UK are desperately worried about their families.

The UK deserves credit for its leadership in providing assistance to refugees in the region, including £600m in aid, helping millions of families survive. However, given the scale and the gravity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding across the region, we would urge the UK to join the 18 other states participating in UNHCR’s global resettlement programme. Those with family already in the UK should be allowed to reunite with their loved ones.

UNHCR has appealed for Western governments to accept 30,000 of the most vulnerable refugees from the region. This would include women at risk, children who are in need of special assistance, vulnerable older adults and torture survivors who will simply struggle to survive in the harsh conditions in the region. We must play our part in offering them a place of safety.

This number may seem like a drop in the ocean, but it would transform the lives of each person resettled and help countries like Lebanon and Jordan who are already feeling the strain. In Lebanon, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, a fifth of the population are now Syrian refugees.

People in neighbouring states have shown incredible compassion and opened their homes to hundreds of thousands of people but we all have a shared responsibility. It would be catastrophic if the neighbouring countries closed their borders to the thousands of people who flee the conflict every day. Yet how can we call on Syria’s neighbours to keep their borders open to refugees if we keep our own under lock and key?

Yours sincerely,

Maurice Wren, CEO, Refugee Council

Kate Allen, director, Amnesty International

Richard Miller, executive director, ActionAid

Wayne Myslik, CEO, Asylum Aid

Chris Bain, director, Cafod

Paul Valentin, international director, Christian Aid

Tiffy Allen, national coordinator, City of Sanctuary

Chris Doyle, director, Council for Arab-British Understanding

Keith Best, CEO, Freedom from Torture

Faddy Sahloul, chairman, Hand in Hand for Syria

Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide

Peter Balleis SJ, international director, Jesuit Refugee Service

Dr Edie Friedman, executive director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality

Syed Sharfuddin, CEO, Muslim Aid

Jim Steinke, CEO, Northern Refugee Centre

Mohamed Nasreldin, CEO, North of England Refugee Service

Mark Goldring, CEO, Oxfam

Dave Garrett, CEO, Refugee Action

Michel Gabaudan, president, Refugees International

Amy Lythgoe, chair of trustees, Refugee  Welcome Trust

Justin Forsyth, CEO, Save the Children

John Wilkes, CEO, Scottish Refugee Council

Emma Williams, CEO, Student Action for Refugees

Rob Williams, CEO, War Child

Salah Mohamed, CEO, Welsh Refugee Council




Notes to editors:

1.     For more information contact Chris Doyle, on + 44207 832 1321 or +447968 040281. 

2.     Caabu has been calling on the UK to take in Syrian refugees since May 2013

3.     About 64,000 Syrians – 2.4% of the total number who have fled – have sought asylum in Europe, with 60% of those applications made in Sweden and Germany. (