On 11th December 2013, the Bishop of Coventry received an answer to a written question on Syria.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to participate in the resettlement programme for Syrian refugees administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government shares the deep concerns regarding the continuing humanitarian crisis in Syria. However, the Government has no current plans to resettle Syrian refugees either as part of, or in addition to, its annual resettlement quota. We continue to believe that the priority should be to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced people in partnership with neighbouring countries and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The UK has now increased its pledge for the Syrian relief effort to £500 million. This represents the UK’s largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.
On 23rd July 2013, Lord Risby asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the current social and economic situation in Lebanon. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question on what is being done to ease tensions between communities affected by the movement of refugees:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, Lebanese communities have shown incredible generosity in coping with refugees but the flow is reaching breaking point. Will the Minister accept that, in addition to providing support for refugees, more work should be done to alleviate tension between communities and to strengthen the resilience of host families?
Baroness Warsi: I completely agree with the right reverend Prelate that there has been a huge show of generosity and a real welcome from the Lebanese people. Noble Lords may be aware that the population of Lebanon is about 4 million. The number of registered refugees is 600,000 but it is estimated that the real number could be a lot higher—somewhere around 1 million. That is the equivalent of the whole of the Romanian population arriving on British shores over a very short period. A huge amount of pressure has been put on local resources, which has of course caused tensions. It is for that reason that we are supporting not just the refugee communities but the host communities as well.