The Green Group of Brighton & Hove councillors has called for an Extraordinary Full Council meeting to discuss the city’s response to the unfolding Syrian refugee crisis.
Following a Green Group meeting last night, convenor Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty today wrote to the Acting Chief Executive of the council, Geoff Raw requesting the meeting. He explained in the letter “our group felt that the ordinary meeting of Full Council scheduled for Thursday 22nd October would be held too far away to outline what is being done and there is no other appropriate meeting happening soon.”
Cllr Mac Cafferty said:
“What has been incredibly moving has been the public’s reaction. People want to help and want us to stand up for the Syrian refugees.”
“At yesterday’s meeting of the Green Group of councillors, we agreed to take a series of actions in relation to the terrible suffering of the Syrian refugees as they seek refuge in Europe. The city’s Green Councillors are keen to work with the other political parties and with the communities in the city to help locally.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that almost half the population of Syria has been forced to flee their homes, half of them children, and is appealing to governments to offer refuge for 960,000 Syrian refugees. However, so far only 80,000 places have been offered, mostly by the US government. Brighton & Hove has offered to take five families as part of the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) Scheme to support some of the most vulnerable refugees.
Cllr Mac Cafferty added:
“As a ‘City of Sanctuary’, where refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed, we have a moral responsibility to do all we can to help people who are from fleeing persecution. The council’s welcome offer to settle five families in our view does not far enough. Local organisations and individuals are reaching out to provide direct support and the council could provide a role in helping to co-ordinate this. We need to have a special full council meeting at the earliest opportunity to agree on how our city can best provide the support that is so desperately needed.”