Harlow MP Robert Halfon defends decision to vote against child refugees from Syria

Politics / Wed 27th Apr 2016 am30 07:20am

HARLOW MP, Robert Halfon has defended his decision to vote against allowing 3,000 child refugees from Syria, entry into this country.

The MP backed the Government and voted to defeat a Labour proposal to allow 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees to come to the UK from Europe.

Labour peer Lord Dubs made the proposal and likened it to the Kindertransport scheme, which enabled children to escape Nazi-controlled areas of Europe before the Second World War.

However, ministers said that it would only encourage more refugees to come to Europe, preferring to admit youngsters from camps in and around Syria instead. The motion was defeated by 294 votes to 276 on Monday night.

Mr Halfon said: “I passionately believe that we have a duty to help the people suffering the Syrian Civil War and that is why I strongly support the fact that the Government has done the following:

1) The establishment of a new resettlement scheme focused on the children at risk in the Middle East and North Africa which is supported by the UNHCR and which will see up to 3,000 people relocated to the UK over the next four years.

2) The Department for International Development has committed £46 million to help support refugees and a £10 million fund focused specifically on the needs of children in Europe. This includes supporting reunification with family they may have been separated from and who are in other EU countries including the UK.

3) 75 UK experts are being deployed to Greece to support more effective reception screening and processing of newly arrived migrants. They will also help identify children and see that they are given appropriate support and care at the earliest opportunity.

4) The Government launched the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme to resettle 20,000 people over the course of this Parliament.

5) The UK is the largest bilateral contributor to the humanitarian response to the crisis in Europe and the Balkans, with a total contribution of £65 million. A large sum of that amount is aimed at providing life-saving aid to migrants and refugees, including food, water, hygiene kits, infant packs and protection for the most vulnerable.

Additionally, the Government has already welcomed and resettled well over 1,000 people, around half of whom are children before Christmas last year. That means that in the next four years, several thousand more children will be resettled in the UK under the Syrian scheme.

I believe that the concentration should be aimed at children in camps around Syria as they are suffering the most and have no ability to travel.

“I am proud of the Government’s humanitarian effort to help Syrian refugees and I think this is the right way forward”.

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