Charities seek more help for refugees after 10,000 milestone reached
Aid charities have welcomed the 10,000 refugee milestone achieved by the Government and urged it to help more people caught up in conflict.
After Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that half of the target of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) had been reached, charities called for the project to be continued and broadened in scope.
The programme, launched in 2014 to help those worst affected by the bloody civil war in Syria, has already been widened to include non-Syrian nationals caught up in the conflict.
Local authorities around the UK take part on a voluntary basis.
Save The Children spokesman Bhanu Bhatnagar said: "The British public can be proud of coming to the aid of vulnerable Syrian children who've grown up knowing nothing but war and deserve better.
"We very much welcome the fact that the Government is looking beyond the current provisions and encourage it to expand its existing resettlement commitments beyond 2020, focusing not only on Syria but on refugees from all war-torn countries.
"Resettlement is a safe and regular route for children and families, ensuring they don't have to embark on dangerous journeys to reach safety."
Dr Lisa Doyle, director of advocacy at the Refugee Council, added that the scheme was "changing lives if not saving lives of thousands of the most vulnerable refugees".
She added: "We hope that the Government continues to show leadership and commits to building on these achievements in the future by offering more refugees around the world the lifeline of a resettlement place in the UK."
The war in Syria is showing no sign of ending, with hundreds of thousands of people killed, wounded or displaced by years of heavy fighting.
Stephen Hale, chief executive of Refugee Action, the largest provider of resettlement support for refugees arriving through the scheme, welcomed the Home Secretary's comments.
He added: "We're in the middle of the worst refugee crisis on record, 1.2 million refugees are in need of resettlement worldwide.
"It's unacceptable that Britain's other, long-term resettlement programme, for refugees of all nationalities, has remained static at around 800 for almost a decade.
"Expanding resettlement to welcome at least 10,000 refugees each year, regardless of which emergency they've fled, and giving them equal rights and support, would far better reflect the contribution we should be making and build on the success of the Syrian scheme post 2020."