Volker Turk, a high-ranking member of the UN Refugee Agency, wants the United Kingdom to accept twice the number of refugees it currently takes in through resettlement programs.
Claiming that asylum seekers “revive” the country, Turk is urging the UK to aim for 10,000 refugees per year.
As of March 2017, the UK had resettled about 5,500 refugees and 3,000 family members and vulnerable children. To keep up with nations like Germany and Australia, the UK would have needed to take in at least 25,000 refugees since the start of the civil war in Syria.
The UK has already promised to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees by the year 2020, but Turk is urging the British government to expand that program to include more refugees from a variety of countries.
“We hope very much that there will be a regular resettlement programme by Britain past 2020 in significant numbers,” said Turk Thursday after meeting with a group of ministers in London.
Turk’s proposed program “would not be related to Syria…It would look at where the urgent situations are, to have certain flexibility in responding to them.” Turk also called on wealthy nations throughout the world to “step up” their response to the migrant crisis and criticzied western politicians for their “irresponsible” rhetoric.
He urged listeners not to focus on the negative aspects of the crisis and praised “rural areas in Britain” that have welcomed refugees and made them a part of their community.
“It’s about attitudes, it’s about engagement, it’s about understanding towards the plight of people who end up – because of conflict, because of war, because of persecution – in a situation of distress.”
Author’s Note: What is happening here is that the UN is trying to force a sovereign nation to do something that will be harmful. It’s easy for Turk to make demands that won’t affect him personally, but as we have seen with Germany, accepting large numbers of refugees has serious consequences.