Oxford City of Sanctuary is happy to say that this past Wednesday 23 September 2015, the Oxford City Council passed the proposal to accept at least 60 Syrian refugees unanimously – with applause from the public gallery. This would not have happened without the thousands in Oxford(shire) who gave their support at the Refugees Welcome Oxford rally and those who signed the petitions and contacted their local council members requesting them to act. Thank You!
Full text below:
Oxford as a City of Sanctuary (proposed by Cllr Simmons; seconded by Cllr Price)
On 6 October 2008, the Council passed a motion declaring itself to be a City of Sanctuary with the words that “this Council wishes to promote the inclusion and welfare of those coming to Oxford to seek refuge and sanctuary.”
We recognise the strong support local communities, voluntary bodies, faith groups and others in Oxford already give to those seeking refuge and sanctuary. The strength of public feeling was well expressed in the ‘Oxford Welcomes Refugees’ March on 6 September that attracted more than 2,000 people.
The UN refugee agency has asked EU Member States to immediately take 200,000 additional refugees to lessen the humanitarian crisis. In response, the EU has adopted a quota system which the UK Government has refused to participate in. Rather than the 25,000 that would represent its ‘fair share’ of migrants (spreading this across the country would mean about 60 refugees being accommodated in a City the size of Oxford), the Prime Minister has instead announced that his Government would make provision for only 4,000 each year.
Recognising its role and responsibility as a City of Sanctuary, this Council asks the Executive to:
- work with the City of Sanctuary, Asylum Welcome, Refugee Resource and other local groups to develop a plan that would see upwards of 60 refugees being housed within the City through schemes such as ‘Host Oxford’
- consider what support can be given to donation efforts, such as those by Emmaus, providing supplies to refugees in Calais
- review its own budgets, services and policies to check that these are adequately supporting refugees and present no impediment to the accommodation in private homes of refugees
- apply for Government funding under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Relocation (SVPR) scheme to help support its efforts
- write to the City’s Universities encouraging them to consider extending their funded studentships to include more places specifically for refugees
- write to the City’s MPs expressing concern over the UK Government’s weak response to the refugee crisis and asking them to lobby for the UK to welcome it’s fair share of refugees