Kirklees a ‘safe haven’ for refugees fleeing war

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Kirklees must offer a “safe haven” to refugees fleeing war-torn nations to seek asylumn in Europe, a councillor said .

Coun Erin Hill, who is responsible for family support and child protection in Kirklees, issued a statement on the unfolding crisis.

Coun Erin Hill.

Coun Erin Hill.

She said: “People are escaping countries and regimes where some of the worst human rights abuses in the world take place, and where war, hunger, absolute poverty and fear are constant.

“We must work with national government, faith communities and aid agencies to respond to what is now a humanitarian crisis. Together we have to find a way, collectively, to respond quickly and provide proper support for refugees.

“In and amongst the international politics are real human tragedies. Many refugees have seen parents, siblings and children die in front of them, either as a result of conditions and atrocities in their homeland, or of the difficult journey to Europe.

“People don’t undertake such incredibly dangerous journeys to Europe unless they have absolutely no other option.

“Kirklees is committed wholeheartedly to supporting these efforts. We are currently looking at practical ways we can assist with this crisis.”

Coun Hill said it was not yet the right time to approach government for help with costs. “Our efforts now must be to offer the safe haven these desperate families need.”

Dewsbury and District Women’s Health Centre in Wellington Road will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7pm to 9pm for the next few weeks, accepting donations for refugees at Calais.

It also be opened from 10am to 6pm on Saturday for donations to be dropped off. Clothes must be clean.

PM David Cameron has announced the UK will accept up to 20,000 refugees from Syria during the next five years.