I've been contacted by constituents who are concerned about lone child refugees making their way across Europe. During the Second World War the UK offered refuge and asylum to those facing persecution in Europe. I agree that it's our duty to act again to protect the vulnerable civilians who are being displaced by war and terror – we must remember that the UK is now bombing Syria and adding to the destruction of their homeland.
Scotland has already welcomed around 400 Syrian refugees and there has been a hugely positive response from the general public.The website www.scotlandwelcomesrefugees.scot has had around 3,500 offers of help from people offering skills and services such as befriending and English lessons to help welcome the new citizens.
Unaccompanied children are so vulnerable and as a society we need to look beyond our borders and welcome child refugees.I'm appalled by stories of child trafficking and I think we must act to protect these children and young people who have already suffered so much.Save the Children has launched a campaign which hopes to provide food, water and shelter to child refugees, you can read more here: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/emergencies/child-refugee-crisis-appeal
The Scottish Government's Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf welcomed this appeal and said 'The decision to take in refugee children who are unaccompanied will rest with the UK Government, but Scotland will continue to support and welcome any refugees who arrive in the UK including children, and continue to discuss with local authorities any support required.'
I understand that times are tough and public services are facing tight budgetary restrictions but I believe now is the time to show our humanity, when vulnerable people are fleeing persecution and war. I will continue to urge the UK Government to accept more refugees.