SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has welcomed the arrival of the first refugees of the Syrian conflict to Northern Ireland.
He is also supporting Save the Children’s campaign urging people in Londonderry to write a welcome message for lone child refugees.
Mr Durkan said: “I’m delighted to support Save the Children’s campaign to welcome child refugees here. These children have been through so much – fleeing conflict and persecution – and I’m therefore glad that we can help provide them with a safe home and a fresh start.
“As winter sets in, I also remain deeply concerned about the plight of other child refugees throughout Europe who are all alone and have no family with them. I’m therefore also supporting Save the Children’s call on the British government to offer to relocate up to 3,000 of these children to the UK”.
Almost 2,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the UK this year, many of whom have fled wars and persecution.
Save the Children’s campaign calls on members of the public to write a welcome message, which will be printed in books being distributed across the UK to help these children learn English.
This will help children to integrate in their new communities, and to learn and thrive.
Mr Durkan wrote his own personal message at Westminster and is now asking people to join the two thousand campaigners that have already taken part.
The brutal war in Syria has forced more than 10 million people – half the population – to flee their homes. While most have fled to other parts of Syria or neighbouring countries, many children and their families are travelling across Europe, in search of a safe place to call home.
The refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War and families are also fleeing conflict and persecution in Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, amongst other countries outside of Syria.