LONDON Euro-MP Jean Lambert has called on Home Secretary Theresa May for the Home Office to meet some 60 Syrian Refugees blockading a French ferry-port in a bid to enter the UK.
In a letter to the Home Office (1) The Green MEP said the Home Secretary must not be afraid to meet with the group – who just want the opportunity to ask the UK authorities to grant them the protection to which they are entitled under international law.
Under the terms of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention (2), anyone can claim asylum in a state, like the UK, that’s signed up to the rules, if they are fleeing a ‘well-founded fear of violence or persecution’.
Ms Lambert, the Green Party’s Spokesperson on Immigration, said the Syrians were fleeing a well-documented conflict and that they should be able to make a case for asylum in London should they so choose: many of them have family in the UK and their support could help reduce the trauma of their situation and offer much-needed help.
“I wouldn’t want to prejudge any such hearing,” she said.
“The UK may not, in fact, be the appropriate country to grant them asylum, especially as the group is currently in France – but the Home Office must meet with them, as they are requesting, to facilitate their asylum application.
“This would be a useful and humane gesture, a small beacon of hope for people in deep distress.
“They have the right to be heard – and to make their case, and denying them that right undermines the whole system of asylum, and probably breaches EU rules on asylum (3) too.”
The scale of Syria’s ongoing humanitarian crisis is alarming, with over 2 million estimated refugees (as many as half of whom are thought to be children) and 4.5 million internally displaced.
The Greens believe there is an urgent need for a coordinated EU response to the crisis to make sure all Syrian refugees are offered protection. Some EU Member States, such as Sweden and Germany, have already decided to grant protection to any Syrian refugees on their soil.
MEPs meeting in Strasbourg will debate such Green proposals for such a common, humanitarian, approach and vote on whether to apply temporary protection measures from this week.
In an email sent to the Home Office today, jointly with French Green MEP Helene Flautres, Ms Lambert said:
“We urge the British Government to work with the French authorities to find a humanitarian outcome which works for these Syrian refugees. Both governments have made clear their concern about the tragic situation in Syria and are providing humanitarian aid to those displaced.
“In our view, the Dublin Regulation offers a number of possibilities, with its humanitarian clause and provisions on family members, as does the Directive on family reunification, to which we would ask you to give due consideration.”