STEPHEN Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose on the floor of the House of Commons today to highlight the plight of Syrian refugees and to call upon the Government to work tirelessly to help resolve the conflict so that Syrians can return home.
The MP saw firsthand the tragic impact of the civil war after recently visiting a refugee camp in Turkey which offers shelter and accommodation to some of the 2.4million Syrian men, women, and children who have been externally displaced by the conflict.
Well over 150,000 people have been killed in Syria as a result of the fighting with 9 million people having lost their homes. With a population of 22 million, the civil war is one of the worst humanitarian disasters in modern times.
In the debate, the opposition called upon the Government to allow Syrian refugees into the UK. Drawing on his experiences in Turkish refugee camps, Mr Metcalfe suggested to the Minister for Immigration, Mark Harper MP, that many refugees don’t want to come to the UK they want to return home if only it were safe to do so. He therefore called upon the Government to work tirelessly to bring all sides involved in the conflict together to try and find a resolution that would allow displaced refugees to return to their home country and suggested that support for the most vulnerable refugees was best delivered on the ground; in the region and close to their own community.
Mr Metcalfe commented: “My recent trip to Turkey to visit Syrian refugee camps was a deeply moving one. These people have been forced from their homes through no fault of their own and many who I spoke to want nothing more than to return to their friends and families in Syria. Whilst it is unsafe for them to do so at this time, I am pleased that the Government are committed to helping this process.”
In addition to £600 million pledged in humanitarian aid, the UK Government is working through the UN to secure unfettered humanitarian access inside Syria. This includes securing priority humanitarian routes to ensure convoys can get through safely, humanitarian pauses to ensure aid reaches most war-torn areas and that the sick and wounded can be evacuated safely, and lifting bureaucratic obstacles like customs rules which make it hard for aid workers to deliver swift relief on the ground.
Mr Metcalfe added: “I would also like to highlight the fantastic work taking place in Turkey. They are working tirelessly to provide a safe haven for refugees coming from across the border and I know the international community are grateful for their efforts.”