Baroness Cox receives answers to her written questions on the resettlement of White Helmets (Syria)

August 7th, 2018

Baroness Cox receives answers to her written questions on the resettlement of White Helmets (Syria)

Baroness Cox (crossbench) posed questions to the UK Government about the statement on the resettlement of White Helmets by the Foreign Secretary and the International Development Secretary on 22 July.

Question 1: 

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the statement on the resettlement of White Helmets by the Foreign Secretary and the International Development Secretary on 22 July, whether members of that group will be resettled in the UK.

Citation: HL9778

 

Question 2:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the statement on the resettlement of White Helmets by the Foreign Secretary and the International Development Secretary on 22 July, whether they will ensure that before members of that group are relocated in the UK, local councils will be informed of the controversial reports relating to the White Helmets and appropriate financial and security support will be given to those councils.

Citation: HL9780

 

Answer 1 and 2 (Baroness Williams of Trafford):

Together with international partners, the UK is working to resettle members of the White Helmets and their families. Any resettlement to the UK would be in line with the established UNHCR process for identifying and resettling the most vulnerable refugees where resettlement is the most appropriate durable solution for their circumstances and only where the eligibility criteria for our schemes is met.

We take the security of our resettlement process extremely seriously. When potential cases are submitted by the UNHCR for consideration, they are carefully screened and considered for suitability for entry to the UK. We take the utmost care to ensure that those people coming here undergo rigorous vetting.

As with all refugees resettled under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, funding would be allocated to local authorities on a per capita basis, with tariff amounts and payment terms clearly set-out in the scheme’s funding instructions. The first 12 months of a refugee’s resettlement costs are funded by central government using the Official Development Assistancebudget. There is also an exceptional cases fund to assist the most vulnerable refugees.

 

Question 3: 

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the statement on the resettlement of White Helmets by the Foreign Secretary and the International Development Secretary on 22 July, what estimate has been made of the costs to (1) the Exchequer, and (2) local government of (a) exfiltrating members of that group from Syria to the UK, (b) maintaining this group together with their families in the UK for five years, and (c) providing additional security for local communities in the UK given the group’s reported links to jihadist extremists in Syria.

Citation: HL9779

 

Answer 3 (Baroness Williams of Trafford):

In addition to the costs of staff time associated with facilitating the departure of White Helmets personnel and dependents from Syria we have agreed, with partners, to cover the costs of their transportation and temporary stay in Jordan through the relevant UN agencies, as necessary. We are not yet in a position to estimate the final UK contribution.

As with all refugees resettled under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, funding would be allocated to local authorities on a per capita basis, with tariff amounts and payment terms clearly set-out in the scheme’s funding instructions. There is also an exceptional cases fund to assist the most vulnerable refugees.

We take the security of our resettlement process extremely seriously. When potential cases are submitted by the UNHCR for consideration, they are carefully screened and considered for suitability for entry to the UK. We take the utmost care to ensure that those people coming here undergo rigorous vetting.

 

Want to find out more about our work in Syria? Click here.


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