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David Cameron has announced a modest increase in the numbers of Syrian refugees to be resettled in the UK under its “Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme” (VPRS). A further 200 refugees will now be accepted under the VPRS to the UK, on top of the 187 who have so far benefited from the scheme which was initially intended to provide resettlement for “several hundred” of the most vulnerable refugees. The Prime Minister emphasised, however, that the total number of resettlement places under the VPRS will not exceed 1,000.
Survivors of sexual violence and torture, as well as disabled or elderly Syrian refugees are prioritised under the scheme whereby UNHCR representatives are tasked with identifying particularly vulnerable refugees from camps within the region.
UNHCR has announced, however, that the numbers of Syrian refugees registered in camps in surrounding countries has now surpassed four million; and a growing number of reports emphasise the high risk of further violence, including sexual violence, particularly for women and girls in Syria and the camps in surrounding countries, Asylum Aid is calling on the government to vastly expand its resettlement efforts.
This article was originally published in Women’s Asylum News 131 July/August 2015.