UNHCR Rep Tells Theresa May to Do 'Right Thing,' Take in 10,000 More Refugees

The UK government's image has suffered ahead of the June 8 general election, with the United Nations urging the Prime Minister, as well as the opposition, to take in more refugees, in a clear sign that the UN body sees Theresa May's government as not doing enough to help tackle the worst humanitarian crisis seen since the Second World War.

The refugee crisis has seen the largest human displacement of people since the World War II, and writing in The Times, Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) representative to the UK, said that Britain should do the "right thing" and support the most vulnerable and those fleeing their home country due to persecution and to avoid death. 

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The UNHCR representative also said that the UK should take in up to 10,000 refugees. 

"This would be a meaningful but realistic increase over the existing commitment, made in 2015, to receive 20,000 Syrians and 3,000 children at risk by 2020, welcome though that is," Llosa said.

The former UK Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to take in 20,000 refugees by 2020 in 2015, however Llosa said that taking in additional 10,000 is a "relatively modest" request.

Llosa also had some damming words for the number of refugees and asylum seekers being detained in the UK — up to 13,000 were recorded in 2016 alone.

"Being detained can leave psychological scars that endure years after release.

"This problem is exacerbated by the deeply worrying fact that Britain currently has no time limit on immigration detention. The cost of maintaining such a sizeable detention system is also extremely high," Llosa added.

​Llosa urged PM May to ease regulations that separate refugees from their families, as he claimed it stands in their way of integrating into society.

"I have met countless refugees who suffer unnecessarily as a result of being separated from close family members. For many refugees, the pain of separation remains the biggest obstacle to their successful integration in a new country," Llosa said.

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