Refugees to be helped
North Lanarkshire to take in 50 more
More refugees from Syria are to be welcomed to North Lanarkshire as councillors agreed to increase the resettlement programme to more than 180 people.
There are currently about 133 refugees living in towns across the area and the council had previously decided to focus future applications on reuniting displaced relatives with their families.
However UN procedure means family connections in host countries are not currently being taken into account when considering applications for resettlement – which means the chances of reuniting families are very slim.
Instead, at a recent Policy and Resources meeting, member/ officer working group chairman Pat O’rourke (Labour, Motherwell North) said his group had agreed to take in a final group of around 50 refugees who were nominated by the Home Office and UN.
Any future family reunification cases will be accepted, increasing the original pledge of 180 people which the council made in 2016.
Cllr O’rourke said: “I am delighted that North Lanarkshire Council will continue its excellent work in providing a safe new home for even more Syrians who have been displaced as a result of the terrible circumstances in their home country.
“Whilst it’s disappointing that we can’t reunite some of those already here with other members of their family, I’m heartened that around 50 further Syrians will soon make North Lanarkshire their home.
“The people of North Lanarkshire can be rightly proud that they have provided such a understanding, compassionate and friendly welcome to the 133 Syrians who have already joined us over the last two years and I’m sure will provide a similar welcome for those still to come.
“The council will continue to liaise with the UK Home Office and the UNHCR in an attempt to get those family reunification applications which are currently ongoing granted in order to bring families back together again.”
A report that went before councillors at the meeting said: “To date the partnership has successfully resettled 133 Syrian refugees across all six of the main towns in North Lanarkshire.
Local multi-agency support teams including volunteers are assisting with all the tasks required to allow the refugees to begin a new life in Scotland and successfully integrate into North Lanarkshire’s communities.
Since March 2011, over five million Syrians have fled their country
More than six million Syrians are internally displaced
Over 13 million people inside Syria require humanitarian assistance, including nearly six million children
At the end of 2017, more than half the country’s hospitals, clinics and primary health care centres were only partially functioning or had been damaged beyond repair
Filippo Grandi, UNHCR High Commissioner, said: “Syria is the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time”.
Plight Syrian refugees as they leave the Greek island of Lesbos