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Government plans for refugees is welcome contribution to dealing with European and global crisis

10th September 2015, 17:32:06 UTC

Amnesty International today welcomed the Irish Government’s commitment to relocate 2,900 refugees in Europe to Ireland. This comes as an addition to its previous commitment to relocate 600 refugees from within Europe, and the 520 Syrians currently in the process of being resettled in Ireland.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said:

“Ireland is to be commended for its show of European solidarity by committing to relocating an additional 2,900 refugees here. We clearly have the capability to help resolve this crisis, which is not just an EU crisis, but a global one.  Not only do we have the ability, but we have the moral responsibility to provide protection for those who need it.

“The Irish people have responded with great compassion and generosity to refugees as this crisis has unfolded.  The Government’s pledges today go some way to reflecting that compassion. That is not to say that these numbers will be enough as a final Irish response to the refugee crisis, but they are a meaningful contribution towards dealing with the problem.

“Amnesty reiterates our calls on the Minister for Justice and Equality at the upcoming meeting of European Ministers to ensure the EU leaders take concrete action. They must rapidly and significantly strengthen emergency reception capacity in first countries of arrival. They must participate fully in emergency relocation plans by welcoming its fair share of refugees and asylum seekers currently arriving in Europe. They must commit to fixing the EU’s broken asylum system, including by developing a fairer mechanism to allocate responsibility among all member states and providing more safe routes, including through resettlement places, to safe haven throughout the EU.

“Today’s announcement is welcome. It demonstrates that Ireland recognises that frontline EU States such as Greece, Italy and Hungary must not be left to deal with this crisis by themselves. It shows that Ireland accepts that the EU and its member states have a moral responsibility to provide safety to people who desperately need protection.

“The Irish Government needs to keep in mind the wider context of a crisis that requires over 1.38 million to be resettled, and must consider accepting greater numbers. We can and must do more – the sheer scale of this crisis demands that.”