City of Coventry supporting refugees (UNHCR)

UNHCR logo largeThe UNHCR website has reported on support being offered refugees in Coventry.

Coventry was among the first three local councils in the UK to participate in the Vulnerable Persons Relocations Scheme for Syrian refugees, so far welcoming 166 people into the city.

UNHCR Abdulmunem Radwan with his UK residence permitYou can read about the Ejrf family (from Quneitra on Syria’s Golan Heights), Abdulmunem Radwan (a lawyer from Homs) and the Akil family (from Idlib in northern Syria) as they settle into their new city after spending time in Jordan or Lebanon.

Peter Barnett oversees the resettlement and welcome programme in Coventry City Council. He sees a “moral imperative” for Coventry to help.

In November 1940, the city suffered one of the most intense Luftwaffe bombardments of any UK city in World War II. The firebombing devastated the city centre, almost completely levelled the historic cathedral, and destroyed or damaged more than 4,000 buildings and homes. More than 560 people were killed and thousands were left injured and homeless.

Barnett rejects concerns that local councils are setting themselves up for a new set of dependants.

“It’s not like that. These are very proud people; they are not looking to be a drain on resources; they want to integrate and settle. And the families that come are supportive of each other.”