15:39 GMT19 September 2020
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)
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    On the same day that UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged the international community to follow Britain’s humanitarian lead over to the refugee crisis, the UK has been urged to step up its commitment to taking in Syrian refugees amid accusations the country isn’t contributing its “fair share.”

    Charity Oxfam has called on Britain to take in more than 20,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next year amid criticism of David Cameron's plans to resettle the same amount over five years.

    In his keynote speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, Cameron praised the UK's commitment to humanitarian aid, saying that his party has been committed to helping the Syrian people over a number of years.

    "We've been helping them over the past four years, giving more in aid to that part of the world than any other country except America.

    "This party made a promise and kept a promise — to spend 0.7 per cent of our national income on aid.

    "Other countries also made that promise. But they didn't keep it. I say to them: if Britain can keep her promises, so should you."

    UK Should Step up Refugee Commitment

    However, Cameron's claims that other countries should look up to the UK in terms of aid to Syria have been shot down in a report released by charity Oxfam, who called on Britain to step up its efforts to resettle refugees from the country.

    While the UK has pledged to grant asylum to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years, Oxfam said Britain needed to resettle more than 21,000 by the end of next year if it was to contribute its "fair share."

    The charity, along with other humanitarian figures, have called for 10 percent of registered Syrian refugees currently living in camps neighboring Syria to be resettled in wealthy countries by the end of 2016, factoring in the size of the individual countries' economies when coming up with a "fair share" figure.

    The analysis states: "Assuming the numbers are spread evenly across the years, the UK is on track to offer refuge to just 5,571 people over this timescale — equivalent to just a quarter (26%) of its fair share."

    Although Britain was praised for pledging more than double its fair share amount of aid spending, charity officials criticized the UK's approach as a "dereliction of duty."

    "Britain is taking just one in four of its fair share of Syrian refugees. For a rich and powerful country to fall so far short is a dereliction of duty," Penny Lawrence, Oxfam GB deputy chief executive said.

    "The British government should be congratulated for stepping up to the plate with financial aid where so many countries have not. If only it showed the same compassion in resettling vulnerable refugees."

    Debate Rages Over UK Contribution

    There has been widespread debate over the UK's contribution to the refugee crisis, with many activists accusing the Conservative party of taking a cold-hearted approach to accepting asylum seekers.

    Following David Cameron's description of refugees as a "swarm" trying to enter Europe, many slammed the prime minister and his party for their anti-immigration rhetoric and perceived dehumanization of refugees, noting that it took the publication of images showing Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach to spark the government into action.

    The government has come under fire for refusing to take part in EU refugee quota proposals aimed at resettling many of the people who have travelled to Europe, with London arguing that it is best to accept refugees staying in camps in the Middle east, in order to avoid encouraging people to make the dangerous journey to Europe.

    However Penny Lawrence from Oxfam said countries like Britain have a responsibility to help out those fleeing violence and vilification in the Middle East and Africa.

    "More than four million Syrians have fled unimaginable violence for the hope of a better future. Rich countries like the UK have an obligation to offer refuge to the most vulnerable, but many are choosing to turn a blind eye."

    Topic:
    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

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    Tags:
    Quotas, refugees, European Union, David Cameron, Syria, United Kingdom
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