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Scotland takes in 1,000th Syrian refugee

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EDINBURGH: Scotland has taken 1000 refugees since a summit last year which aimed to address the international crisis.

The government of Scotland announced that the milestone was reached after 120 refugees arrived last week, but said that the number  was “tiny compared with the people in desperate need”.

At the summit last September, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that Scotland should accept 1000 refugees as “as a starting point for a meaningful discussion”. She also established a taskforce with a £1m budget for the purpose.

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The United Kingdom has committed to resettle 20,000 Syrians refugees through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) scheme over the next five years. More than 2,800 people have been refuge so far while tens of thousands apply for asylum in the UK every year.

To marked the milestone, Scottish Equalities Secretary Angela Constance met refugees and support workers at an educational project in Edinburgh.

She said that that Scotland was committed to accept a fair and proportionate share of the refugees coming to the UK. “It’s been fantastic to see people extend the warm hands of friendship to their new neighbours,” she said

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However, she said that integration is a long-term process and local authorities are working with community organisations to ensure that the receive the right support.

David Bradwell, of Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, said that “A thousand people is worth marking – but it is still a tiny number compared with the people in desperate need.” He said that there has been a phenomenal  response from local communities.

In February, the UK government hosted a ‘Supporting Syria and the Region Conference’ in London where it claims to be at the forefront of the response to the humanitarian crisis in Syira which is seeing a brutal and long-running conflict which has displaced thousands of people.

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The conference aimed to create an estimated 1.1 million jobs for refugees and host country citizens in the region by 2018. It also aim to provide quality education with access to boys and girls to 1.7 million children who are all refugees or from vulnerable in host communities.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said the UK had pledged more than £2.3bn which is the largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.

She said that there have been a tremendous amount of goodwill from local authorities and the private sector, as well as from individuals across the UK, which will provide further opportunities to resettle Syrian families.

The article originally appeared on BBC News

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