THE FAMILIES of refugees should be allowed to join relatives now living in the UK, MSP Rona Mackay has said.
The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP has voiced her backing for colleague Angus MacNeil MP Private Members’ bill to change the law.
The Refugee Family Reunion Bill will address specific issues that have split up families and give children the right to be reunited with parents.
The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on Wednesday, July 19, and has already secured support from the Refugee Council, UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency, Amnesty International, the British Red Cross and Oxfam GB.
Ms Mackay said: “To think that legal red tape prevents children of whom we’re sheltering from war from being reunited with their parents, also refugees, makes absolutely no sense at all.
“To keep a child that has grown up in a warzone away from their parents, when we have the means of reuniting them, is inherently wrong and indefensible.
“The Syrian refugee crisis has been the defining humanitarian crisis of many of our lives, and we have to appreciate the gravity of this situation and do everything we can to ease the pain of its victims.”
Ms Mackay has also lodged a parliamentary motion in Holyrood supporting the Bill.
That the Parliament welcomes the proposed UK Parliamentary Bill to allow refugee children settled in the United Kingdom to sponsor their parents to join them; notes the Refugee Family Reunion Bill by Angus MacNeil MP aims to keep refugee families together, allow children to be reunited with parents and reintroduce legal aid for refugee family applications, which stopped in 2012; notes it has been supported by the Refugee Council, UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency, Amnesty International, the British Red Cross and Oxfam GB; appreciates the Syrian refugee crisis is the most defining humanitarian disaster since World War II and measures that go above and beyond the norm are needed to help those families whose lives have been torn apart through no fault of their own; thanks Angus MacNeil MP for devoting his Private Members’ bill to this cause and wishes him and his team all the best in getting the Bill passed in the UK Parliament.
From Rona Mackay MSP, by Alan Ferguson