Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon is expected to meet Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, to discuss issues pertaining to solving the Syrian crisis, including solutions for the thousands of displaced Syrian refugees.
The First Minister said that Scotland should take in 1,000 refugees as a start for paving the way for solving the Syrian refugee crisis. She also urged UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, not to term this as a migration crisis, and stressed on the distinction between asylum and immigration.
David Cameron, has committed to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 5 years. However, Nicola Sturgeon argued that Britain should do more to help the refugees, especially those who have taken refuge in other European countries and those who are seeking asylum.
“It is perhaps treating them as if they are to blame that is making it so difficult for David Cameron to show the leadership he must. Instead of this being a humanitarian response to a refugee crisis, it has become part of a vexed, troubled and often pejorative debate on immigration.”- Nicola Sturgeon
The Syrian refugee crisis
The Syrian refugee crisis is making daily headlines in what can be described as the worst humanitarian disaster of the 21st century. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled from their homes in Syria, a country torn apart by a prolonged and ongoing civil war between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Syrian mujahideen fighters. The conflict began in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011 when a peaceful protest by civilians was responded with a brutal crackdown by the Syrian military. Since then, many Syrians have taken up arms, leading to a number of armed militias, all bent on taking control of Assad controlled territories.
The civil war, which has now stretched into its fourth year, has caused the number of displaced people to reach over 11 million. Over the last several weeks, thousands of Syrians have entered Europe mainly in Germany, Hungary, Greece, and Iceland. The Hungarian government, however, has deployed police to stop the entry of refugees in its effort to protect its borders from illegal settlers.
At the moment, up to four million Syrian refugees are seeking to register at the United Nations High Commission of Refugees.
Debate over EU
The decision to remain within the EU will also be discussed in the meeting with the foreign secretary. The Scottish National Party (SNP) had earlier expressed a second referendum on Scotland’s decision to stay in the EU. Nicola Sturgeon had spoken about the issues using the following words:
“Our manifesto will set out what we consider around the circumstances in which, and the possible timescale in which a second referendum might be appropriate. It will then be down to the people to accept whether they vote for that manifesto.”
She further elaborated that the circumstances of the second referendum will hinge upon the powers granted to the SNP following the significant gains in this year’s UK elections.