Refugee Week an opportunity to demonstrate compassion and generosity to those who have been forced to flee their homes, says Nicholl

Alliance Migration spokesperson Kate Nicholl MLA was speaking during Refugee Week (19-25 June), which this year is focusing on the importance of compassion.

The South Belfast MLA said: “Seeking asylum is a human right. Those seeking refuge in Northern Ireland have often fled heart-breaking and devastating circumstances that are unimaginable to most of us.


“The overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland reject the Conservative government’s callous approach to refugees and migrants, and want to play their part in supporting refugees and creating an inclusive, vibrant and welcoming society here.


“We urgently need to see safe and legal routes for seeking asylum established to ensure those forced to flee war, conflict, and other tragic circumstances can avoid perilous and often life-threatening journeys to safety.


“For those who are arriving in Northern Ireland however, there remain significant barriers to accessing support to meet their basic needs. This includes physical and mental healthcare, education, financial security, and support to rebuild their lives in a new place of safety, and all these issues must be addressed.


“The UK government have demonstrated a consistent pattern of disregard and lack of compassion towards those arriving on our shores. Refugee rights are human rights. They must be recognised and respected without discrimination, and people must be given the support they need.


“During Refugee Week, and every week thereafter, let us commit to securing and reaffirming the rights and dignity of all refugees in our society, and unequivocally welcome them as members of our communities.”