Refugees and Human Rights

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:20 pm on 24th January 2018.

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Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People) 3:20 pm, 24th January 2018

It is a pleasure to speak in the debate and to follow Bob Stewart. I thank him for sharing his story; I think we all felt quite emotional on hearing it. The plight of refugees across the world remains a deeply tragic and often shameful summation of our ability as an international community to create a safe and prosperous environment. The individual circumstances of a conflict that causes displacement, or of the threat posed to vulnerable citizens, can seem insurmountable, given their different causes and effects. The conditions that lead to the movement of people across borders to seek sanctuary will not go away anytime soon. Those conditions include persecution, war, climate change and other complex economic and social factors.

Britain has the power to play a leading role in setting a co-operative, internationalist agenda that puts human rights at its centre. The plight of Syrian refugees is a prime example. The more recent resettlement schemes announced by the Government are to be commended, but we still are trailing in comparison with our European neighbours. It will be almost a decade since the civil war in Syria started by the time the UK is even close to meeting its targets, while an overstretched region handles the crisis from afar.