Refugees to be helped

North La­nark­shire to take in 50 more

Hamilton Advertiser - - GOLDEN COUPLES - Staff re­porter

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

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