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Petition for Island to home refugees

Phil Matthews, Zoe Thompson, Ona MacTavish, Phil Craine

Charities urge govt 'to do its share'

A petition has been presented to the Manx government calling for the Island to 'take in it's fair share' of Syrian refugees.

The document, which has more 1000 signatures, was handed to Chief Minister Howard Quayle and Policy and Reform Minister Chris Thomas this week (30 Jan).

It's been presented by a group of local charitable organisations keen to give asylum seekers the chance to start a new life on the Island.

As thousands of Syrians flee the ongoing civil war, escaping persecution and poverty, the process of resettling refugees across Europe has been well under way for some years.

According to the British Red Cross, the war-torn country has now produced more than 4.2 million aslyum seekers.

The UK's Syrian Vulnerable Person's Resttlement Scheme has thus far given a home to over 4,500 Syrian refugees, and has made a long-term committment to take in 20,000 by 2020.

Here on the Island, the government's position has been less clear - more than half a million pounds has been donated to charities working in refugee camps, but previous Chief Minister Alan Bell had said that any resettlement would require 'proper consideration'.

The petition given to the new Chief Minister Howard Quayle yesterday calls for the Island to take in 25 refugees by 2020.

Four organisations, the One World Centre, Amnesty International IOM, Refugees Welcome IOM and Manx Support Refugees presented the document.

They claim to have the support of over 50 local individuals, charities, church groups and businesses, ready and willing to offer assisstance for the initiative.

The charities say a relatively small effort to help during a desperate crisis would demonstrate that the Island can offer sanctuary to victims of war.

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