Wednesday, 27 April 2016 05:18

TORY failure to accept child refugees 'Shameful and inhumane'

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 The SNP has criticised the UK Government for a ‘shameful and inhumane act of political cowardice’ after rejecting calls to accept unaccompanied child refugees.

 The Tories voted down an amendment to the Immigration Bill that would have required the UK to accept at least 3000 child refugees. The amendment was defeated by 294 votes to 276.

 The UK government has so far failed to make any clear or firm commitment to resettle its fair share of these vulnerable children.

 The SNP has called for greater resettlement since the start of crisis and the SNP Scottish Government has led the way in the UK on practical support for refugees - launching Scotland’s refugee taskforce with £1million of funding, providing £375,000 in aid to support humanitarian activity in southern Europe, and ensuring Scotland has taken in more than 400 of the 1,300 refugees given a safe haven in the UK under the Syrian Resettlement Programme.

 Humza Yousaf, the Minister for Europe and International Development who led the Scottish Government’s refugee taskforce, commented:

 “The UK Government have once again shown a complete lack of compassion by refusing to give shelter to children fleeing war - a shameful and inhumane act of political cowardice. The UK Government need to do the decent thing and think again.

 “As a result of the UK's inaction, thousands of child refugees continue to struggle alone and at risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse – with an estimated 10,000 children disappearing in Europe in 2015 alone, including those who have died trying to get to the UK.

 “Ruth Davidson likes to pretend that the Scottish Tories come without the baggage of her colleagues in Westminster, but she can't hide from her own party's record on this. Ms Davidson should pick up a phone to David Cameron and urge him to do the right thing - otherwise she is just confirming that she is no different from any other Tory.”

 Stuart McDonald MP, the SNP spokesperson on Immigration, Asylum and Border Control said:

 “The refusal to accept refugee children was an abdication of responsibility by the UK government, which has failed to meet its moral obligations to these vulnerable children and has failed to show the leadership that is needed to tackle this humanitarian crisis.

 “The public rightly expect us to do our bit to protect these children, who are in desperate situations that we would never allow for our own families. These are children that have fled war and persecution, who have lost everything, and now need our help and sanctuary.

 “The government may have narrowly the vote but it is a hollow victory and to their shame. Scotland remains ready to do its bit by accepting our fair share of these child refugees, and the SNP will continue to push for the UK government to act.”