Calls for co-ordinated Welsh sponsorship scheme for refugees fleeing Ukraine
There are calls for Wales to create a “nationally co-ordinated Welsh sponsorship scheme” to form a humanitarian pathway for refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Welsh government’s press conference on Tuesday minister for social justice Jane Hutt said: “Wales stands in solidarity with Ukraine and its people.”
She said: “We’ve watched as tens of thousands of people have crossed into the neighbouring countries of Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.
“We’ve heard the harrowing stories of people leaving family members behind to fight and others not knowing when they will be able to return to their homes and their lives.”
“The UN Refugee Agency has estimated 2 million people have fled Ukraine already and countless more may be internally displaced because of the bombing.”
Jane Hutt said: “The UK government must make it easier for refugees who are mainly women and children to be able to come to the UK and come to Wales.”
“It must remove all unnecessary red tape and any bureaucracy and provide a streamlined application process for all those fleeing the war in Ukraine.”
“I’m also calling on the UK Government to create a fully funded refugee resettlement scheme drawing on the previous experience from the Afghan and Syrian programmes.”
Adam Price MS, Leader of Plaid Cymru slated Westminster proposal for a humanitarian pathway involving sponsorship by local authorities or private individuals or companies as a “wholly unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle” but that Wales could help minimise it by the creation of its own scheme.
Speaking in First Ministers Questions, Mr Price gave the example from history in May 1937 when hundreds of Basque children fleeing fascism were welcomed in Wales as part of a “concerted effort organised again in the teeth of inaction from the British Government.”
Mr Price also asked for an update on discussions on the use of Wales’ national airport as a receiving entry point for Ukrainian refugees, to which the First Minister confirmed that further discussions were being held with Westminster this week on the flexibility Wales would need to be able to make quick use of the offer which the First Minister confirmed had come from Wizz Air.
Adam Price MS said yesterday: “On this International Women’s Day it’s impossible not to think about the many vulnerable Ukrainian women, many with children, tired, traumatised, desperate, having travelled out a war zone and across the European continent to be turned away at Calais by UK Government officials.
“The talk from Westminster of a humanitarian pathway involving sponsorship by local authorities or private individuals or companies is a wholly unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle. But given they have placed that obstacle there, we could help minimise it by creating a nationally coordinated Welsh sponsorship scheme.
“Just as Wales welcomed hundreds of Basque children fleeing fascism in 1937, this is something Wales could emulate now – not just in the hundreds, but in the thousands.
“It’s time to show the sense of urgency and the moral responsibility that a situation of this gravity – the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the WWII – commands. If this cold-hearted Westminster is not able show humanity, then Wales must lead the way.”
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