Open Letter To David Cameron Prime Minister From Joint Agencies On Syria

Rt Hon David Cameron MP

Prime Minister’s Office

10 Downing Street

This letter was sent to the Prime minsster and covered in the Independent Newspaper


London SW1A 2AA

18 January 2014

Open Letter

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you on behalf of the most vulnerable refugees from Syria who are struggling to survive in crowded refugee camps and makeshift shelters. They have witnessed and survived unimaginable horrors. Meanwhile Syrians living in the UK are desperately worried about their families.

The UK deserves credit for its leadership in providing assistance to refugees in the region, including £600 million in aid, helping millions of families survive. However, given the scale and the gravity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding across the region, we would urge the UK to join the 18 other states participating in UNHCR’s global resettlement programme. Those with family already in the UK should be allowed to reunite with their loved ones.

UNHCR has appealed for western governments to accept 30,000 of the most vulnerable refugees from the region. This would include women at risk, children who are in need of special assistance, vulnerable older adults and torture survivors who will simply struggle to survive in the harsh conditions in the region. We must play our part in offering them a place of safety.

This number may seem like a drop in the ocean, but it would transform the lives of each person resettled and help countries like Lebanon and Jordan who are already feeling the strain. In Lebanon, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, a fifth of the population are now Syrian refugees.

People in neighbouring states have shown incredible compassion and opened their homes to hundreds of thousands of people but we all have a shared responsibility. It would be catastrophic if the neighbouring countries closed their borders to the thousands of people who flee the conflict every day. Yet how can we call on Syria’s neighbours to keep their borders open to refugees if we keep our own under lock and key?

Yours sincerely,

Maurice Wren, Chief Executive Kate Allen, Director Refugee Council Amnesty International

Richard Miller, Executive Director


Wayne Myslik, Chief Executive

Asylum Aid

Chris Bain, Director


Paul Valentin, International Director

Christian Aid

Tiffy Allen, National Coordinator

City of Sanctuary

Chris Doyle, Director

Council for Arab-British Understanding

Keith Best, Chief Executive

Freedom from Torture

Faddy Sahloul, Chairman

Hand in Hand for Syria

Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, Chief Executive

Islamic Relief Worldwide

Peter Balleis SJ, International Director

Jesuit Refugee Service

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director

Jewish Council for Racial Equality

Syed Sharfuddin, Chief Executive

Muslim Aid

Jim Steinke, Chief Executive Northern Refugee Centre

Mohamed Nasreldin, Chief Executive North of England Refugee Service

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive Oxfam

Dave Garrett, Chief Executive Refugee Action

Michel Gabaudan, President Refugees International

Amy Lythgoe, Chair of Trustees Refugee Welcome Trust

Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive Save the Children

John Wilkes, Chief Executive Scottish Refugee Council

Emma Williams, Chief Executive Student Action for Refugees

Rob Williams, Chief Executive War Child

Salah Mohamed, Chief Executive Welsh Refugee Council

cc: Rt Hon Justine Greening MP; Rt Hon William Hague MP; Rt Hon Theresa May MP

Attachment:   Open Letter to United Kingdom Prime Minister. Resettlement factsheet for Syria