JCore head welcomes Syria refugee scheme

The Jewish Council for Racial Equality has welcomed the government’s decision to allow hundreds of the “most vulnerable” Syrian refugees to come to Britain, but says more can still be done.

JCore director Edie Friedman said: “This is an important, positive move. We welcome the fact that some people will now be allowed to come to the country.”

Home Secretary Theresa May announced on Wednesday the government’s U-turn, after suggesting earlier in the week that the UK would not implement a resettlement programme.

It followed a national campaign urging the government to open Britain’s doors to refugees from the Syrian civil war. Last week, Dr Friedman accompanied four rabbis to Downing Street, where they delivered a petition signed by 630 people.

Mrs May told the House of Commons on Wednesday: “The government will be launching a new programme to provide emergency sanctuary in the UK for displaced Syrians who are particularly vulnerable.”

Labour MPs questioned why the government had chosen to run its own resettlement programme rather than take part in the scheme run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as other EU countries have done.

Dr Friedman echoed these concerns: “We would want to urge the government to be absolutely open-minded and flexible about the need to take in more refugees.”

Last updated: 5:45pm, January 30 2014