Call for UK to take in more refugees

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

A FOR­MER Kindertransport refugee has crit­i­cised the UK’s pol­icy of tak­ing 20,000 Syr­ian asy­lum-seek­ers over the next five years.

Sir Erich Re­ich said: “To let in just 4,000 a year like David Cameron has said is ab­surd. We need to let in more.”

He was speak­ing at a public meet­ing or­gan­ised by the Board of Deputies this week to dis­cuss the com­mu­nity’s re­sponse to the refugee cri­sis.

Sir Erich told the 250-strong au­di­ence at the JW3 com­mu­nity cen­tre, in north-West Lon­don: “What is so dis­turb­ing about the refugee cri­sis is the idea we can’t re­solve the prob­lem.

“But for those who are ter­rorised and flee­ing come what may, we can take them in.”

Also at­tend­ing the meet­ing was Razan Alakraa whose fam­ily fled Syria, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from char­i­ties, in­clud­ing JCORE, Rene Cassin, Tzelem and Mitz­vah Day.

Refugee Coun­cil pol­icy man­ager Ju­dith Dennis urged peo­ple to write to their MPs ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to do more to pro­vide safe and le­gal routes into Europe. She said: “Peo­ple are go­ing to make the jour­ney — the prob­lem is it’s not safe.”

Nic Sh­lag­man, com­mu­nity projects co-or­di­na­tor for West Lon­don Syn­a­gogue, which runs a drop-in cen­tre for refugees, said: “We need to give our time and money and talk to in­di­vid­u­als about their ex­pe­ri­ences… Use the skills you have and of­fer them to those who need it.”

World Jewish Re­lief’s emer­gency ap­peal, launched last month has raised over £471,844 for refugees in Syria.

Alisa Avig­dor, the char­ity’s di­rec­tor of phi­lan­thropy, thanked the Jewish com­mu­nity for its “ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eros­ity”. She said: “We have al­ready been pro­vid­ing thou­sands of back-toschool kits for Syr­ian refugee chil­dren in Tur­key and as hard win­ter ap­proaches we will pro­vide thou­sands of win­ter kits which in­clude coats, boots, warm socks, clothes and a sleep­ing bag.”

Mean­while Edie Fried­man, di­rec­tor of JCORE, has ex­pressed con­cern over Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May’s tough line on immigration in her speech to the Con­ser­va­tive Party con­fer­ence.

Ms Fried­man said: “It is im­per­a­tive that we re­main com­mit­ted to up­hold­ing our in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions re­gard­ing refugees and asy­lum seek­ers. Get­ting ‘tough’ on those flee­ing con­flict and per­se­cu­tion is a step in the wrong di­rec­tion.”

She added: “As Bri­tain pre­pares to take up to 20,000 Syr­ian refugees over the next four years, mak­ing peo­ple more anx­ious about this is­sue is not com­pat­i­ble with ask­ing peo­ple to be wel­com­ing to new refugees.”

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