Few receive specialist help they need, report finds, while aim of resettling 20,000 vulnerable refugees by 2020 remains a challenge
Only a handful of the 1,000 survivors of torture or violence who have arrived in Britain under the government’s Syrian vulnerable refugee resettlement programme have received specialist help, charities have told MPs.
MPs on the Commons public accounts committee said it was “a stark fact” that more than half of the refugees resettled in Britain by the end of June last year had suffered torture or violence and it was critical that such people received specialist support.
Britain pledged to take 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East by 2020 after David Cameron and Theresa May refused to take part in the European Union’s plans to relocate thousands of Syrian refugees who had crossed the Mediterranean and reached Europe.
The MPs say in their report, published on Friday, that there are enough indicative pledges of support from local authorities around Britain to meet the 20,000 target but say it is essential these are turned into firm offers of resettlement places for the scheme to succeed.
The committee commended the Home Office, local authorities and others for their efforts on delivering the scheme: “After a concerted effort to resettle 1,000 before Christmas 2015, the programme sensibly took a step back in early 2016 to redesign a more sustainable programme. However, meeting the overall target to resettle 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in the UK by May 2020 remains a significant challenge.”
The MPs have called on the Home Office and the local authorities involved to undertake a full review of how torture victims on the scheme are being identified and supported.
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