Home Secretary Suella Braverman

UK refugee charities have called on the UK government to be ready to establish emergency pathways for people seeking refuge as a result of the ongoing situation in Gaza.

Organisations including the Refugee Council, Safe Passage International, Doctors of the World, Helen Bamber Foundation and City of Sanctuary are supporting the call for a coordinated and emergency response to the plight of those having to flee their homes.

These organisations have called for the UK government to put in place a medical evacuation for people in need of specialist care, an emergency family reunion scheme, and an emergency refugee protection visa. They are also calling for facilitated travel for UK nationals and those with the right to enter the UK, as well as Israeli and Palestinian cases already in the UK asylum system to be prioritised.

According to the organisations involved, these proposals are based on approaches taken by the government to other conflicts of a significant scale, such as those in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

They have also emphasised the importance of the right to asylum in the UK being in place for people who through no fault of their own have to take dangerous journeys to reach the country.

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “As the conflict worsens the number of Palestinian men, women and children displaced and those facing grave danger will only increase. People who aren’t secure and safe in their homes need access to safety and the UK must be ready to play a role by implementing a package of emergency measures at short notice.

“Responses to recent major conflicts have resulted in different schemes for different nationalities, all with separate and often complex eligibility criteria and unclear funding regimes. Instead of this ad hoc and inconsistent approach, a standard set of measures to provide safe passage to those who need it should be operationalised as and when a crisis warrants such a response.

“At the same time it is vital that the right to asylum is up held for those who, through no fault of their own, have to take dangerous journeys to the UK as well as expanding  safe routes including an ambitious multi-year resettlement commitment, wider family reunion pathways, and the piloting of a refugee visa.”

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Image credit: Simon Dawson / Number 10 – Creative Commons