Junior Ministers Megan Fearon and Alastair Ross today highlighted the Executive’s participation in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme at a Red Cross event in Parliament Buildings.
The event hosted international delegates from the Platform for European Red Cross Cooperation (PERCO) on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migration and was an opportunity to share experiences and highlight the importance of partnership working in resettling refugees.
Speaking at the event, Junior Minister, Megan Fearon said: “The Executive has resettled more than 200 refugees here and we are committed to receiving more. The scheme supports and resettles those most vulnerable, including victims of violence, women and children at risk and those in need of advanced medical care.
“Many of these people had been living in unimaginable conditions and fear, and we are committed to ensuring they feel welcome, accepted and valued, and supporting their long term integration.
“We are proud people here are willing to step forward and open our arms and hearts to these families in their time of need. We hope this new start will offer them hope, opportunity and the conditions to live in peace.
“A lot of work goes into receiving refugee groups and partnership working is key to it being successful. I thank the Red Cross for its contribution to the scheme and for its work in every corner of the world, helping those in need build a better future.”
Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “We are all too aware of the vulnerability of those people who have become refugees and the often horrific stories of many who have left their homes. We must ensure those who arrive in Northern Ireland are treated with respect and dignity, and are able to begin a new life here.
“The Executive is taking many steps to ensure that refugees arriving on these shores are provided with the support they need to fully integrate in our society. We are working on a Refugee Integration Strategy; hundreds of projects, helping thousands of people have been funded by the Minority Ethnic Development Fund since it was established in 2001 and our Crisis Fund is helping to support refugees and asylum seekers who are in need throughout Northern Ireland.
“None of this would be possible without partnership working with the voluntary and community sector. The Red Cross is one of our key partners in delivering many of our projects and I thank them for their work, at home and abroad, to help make a better life for so many.”
PERCO is a regional forum and membership is open to National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from the European Union member states, European Trade Association member states, EU accession and SAP countries (EU Stabilisation and Association Process). It is a high level forum that considers a wide range of issues on migration, including integration, safe routes of travel, detention and EU policy.
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