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Anderson calls for action on International Human Rights Day

10 December, 2015 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson welcomed International Human Rights Day, held annually on December 10th.

A member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee in the European Parliament, Ms Anderson stated:

"Today marks International Human Rights Day across the world, representing a significant opportunity to recognise the importance of human rights and raise awareness of how they bind us together as a global community.

"Moreover, today marks the anniversary of the United Nation’s formal adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.

"On International Human Rights Day, the Irish Government needs to reflect on their position with resettling refugees.  While the Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme (SHAP) is a positive measure, much more is needed.

"There must be less talk and more action. We are facing the biggest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since the end of World War II and it's simply not enough to voice well-meaning platitudes.

Ms Anderson continued:

"This year, the global refugee figures passed 50 million for the first time since World War II. We need to ask whether 111 Syrians (whose family members will bear the entire financial cost of their support in Ireland) through the (SHAP) Scheme and 90 Syrians this year through refugee resettlement is a credible response to a humanitarian crisis of this proportion.

"This is the first year that Ireland has accepted Syrian refugees through resettlement in any significant numbers (1 Syrian person was resettled last year) and Minister Fitzgerald has indicated that Ireland will resettle a further 220 Syrian refugees in the next two years. Furthermore, it should be noted that applications for asylum in Ireland are amongst the lowest in the EU with less than 1,000 asylum seekers entering Ireland last year.

Ms Anderson concluded:

Amongst the international community and even within the EU, Ireland is lagging behind everybody else. The countries neighbouring Syria are hosting approximately 3.2 million Syrian refugees. In Turkey in three weeks alone in 2013, 180,000 Syrians arrived in Turkey seeking asylum. In Lebanon, Syrian refugees make up 25% of the population. The fifth largest city in Jordan is a refugee camp.

“When I visited Cyprus last week, I vigorously deplored the actions of the British Government. Bombs were leaving the British bases in Cyprus in order to kill, maim and injure civilians in Cyprus.

"These actions are going to intensify what is already an out of control humanitarian crisis. The Irish Government needs to have the moral fortitude and courage to unreservedly condemn the actions of the British Government and the impact that this is having on the lives of men, women and children in Syria.


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