MALVERN should provide a safe sanctuary for Syrian refugees, a pair of Green Party councillors have proposed.
Coun Julian Roskams and John Raine will formally present a case to the district council on December 2 after meeting with members of Malvern Hills Amnesty International who have called for the town to take the lead as part of the UK’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme.
It will see hundreds of refugees coming to Britain with central Government providing funding to councils to accommodate them for up to a year, although local authorities will have to put themselves forward for the scheme first.
Dr Trevor Trueman from Malvern Hills Amnesty International said: “A dozen Syrian families could easily be housed in Malvern. Local activists and refugee organisations would ensure that they quickly became part of the social fabric of the area and net contributors of finance and skills to the local economy.”
The group claimed refugees and asylum seekers only made up 0.23 per cent of Britain’s population compared to other nations such as Lebanon where one in five people were seeking refuge.
Dr Trueman added: “In common with other members of Amnesty International and many other human rights groups and individuals, we feel strongly about the desperate plight of Syrian refugees and indeed the problems faced by refugees and asylum-seekers everywhere.
“We will be proud if Malvern can lead the way in welcoming Syrian refugees to the UK.
“As the sixth biggest world economy, Britain must shoulder its fair share of the world’s refugee population of 16.7million.”
Coun Roskams said: “As the cradle of democracy and a bastion of human rights, this country has a record without equal when it comes to reaching out to those seeking refuge from terror, torture and persecution in their own country.
“They are ordinary people like us determined to make a living for themselves and their families and to contribute to their communities, without the constant fear of the knock on the door in the middle of the night.
“Malvern has played its own part in this proud story. As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, we remember too the generosity of spirit that saw Malvern take in 500 Belgian refugees fleeing the ravages of war in mainland Europe.
“A modern day terror has left over a million Syrians without homes and without hope. I know Malvern will want to play its part in bringing a few of their number much needed relief.”