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Newcastle Lib Dem councillors urge city council to offer sanctuary to 30 refugee families

September 3, 2015 4:23 PM

At last night's meeting of Newcastle City Council, Lib Dem councillors called for the authority to offer sanctuary to 30 refugee families affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria and Libya .

Anyone who uses an Apple i-Phone, iPad, or computer is using a product invented by a company established by the son of a Syrian refugee. By opening our doors, we might be offering a home to a future inventor, entrepreneur, surgeon, or artist who could enrich all of our lives, rather than turning them away and literally leaving them to die.

Whereas Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has consistently championed the interests of the refugees affected by this crisis, Labour have belatedly changed their tone on the issue, after previously talking tough and calling for "fingerprinting for migrants" at Calais *.

Deputy leader Dr Wendy Taylor said "The humanitarian crisis is continuing unchecked and the images reaching us of human desperation and misery are shocking. The British Government has a responsibility to humanity to accept more genuine refugees who have been displaced by war and terror in the Middle East, and it is troubling that to date very little has been done to help, with only 2200 refugees accepted by the UK so far.

"We endorse the suggestion that every major city should be seeking to accommodate refugees. Given that Newcastle has declared itself a City of Sanctuary, we believe that the council should seek to work with existing refugee support networks and housing providers to take in 30 refugee families to offer them safety and shelter. By offering hope and compassion to those suffering oppression and exploitation, we can show that Newcastle is a city that welcomes refugees, offers them the chance to make a new life that benefits our city and our economy, and stands ready to help."

Cllr Doreen Huddart also told the council meeting she will shortly be visiting the Mayor of Calais as part of an EU delegation to discuss the crisis being experienced there and to explore ways of increasing provision of humanitarian relief.