To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the proportion of Christians accepted under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme.
Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)
(13 Feb 2020) Our resettlement schemes prioritise the most vulnerable refugees regardless of race, religion or ethnicity – we do not discriminate in favour of, or against, any particular group. This is why we work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has well-established procedures and criteria for identifying and resettling the most vulnerable refugees. Apart from the criteria we set for each scheme, we do not seek to influence which cases are referred to us by UNHCR.
However, we recognise how important it is that UNHCR is accessible to the most vulnerable refugees, including members of minority religions, and this is why we are working with UNHCR and their partners to intensify their outreach to groups that might otherwise be reluctant to register. This includes people in formal refugee camps, informal settlements and host communities. The efforts undertaken by UNHCR include mobile registration teams, outreach teams, and helpdesks for areas where different minority groups are concentrated to facilitate registration and access to services.
Citation: HL Deb, 13 February 2020, cW