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Refugee crisis: open letter to the Prime Minister

Refugee crisis: open letter to the Prime Minister

Islamic Relief has signed an open letter from over 70 NGO members to the Prime Minister, calling for further action to deal with the refugee crisis.

Dear Prime Minister,

In recent months a refugee crisis of historic proportions has unfolded in Europe – a result of desperate people fleeing countries ravaged by conflict, in pursuit of safety. The tragic death of Alan Kurdi, drowned with his family at sea and washed ashore in Turkey, has made millions of people across Europe demand that more is done to help those in need.

As international development organisations, many of us are working in the countries from which these people are displaced and have witnessed the daily horrors they are seeking to escape. We are also in many cases providing coordinated relief within Europe’s borders for refugees who have made the perilous journey to our continent.

We recognise and congratulate the generosity of the UK government in supporting the humanitarian response in the Syria region, as the second biggest funder of the refugee response and relief efforts in the area. We also commend the UK government’s contribution to vital search and rescue missions. However, for a fair and long-term solution to the problem we urge you to take the following steps:

  1. Commit that the UK will take in its fair share of refugees – the decision to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years is a first step, but it is vital that these people are welcomed as soon as possible, and that the number be revised upwards in line with the scale of the humanitarian tragedy in and around Syria. The UK must also be prepared to take in its fair share of refugees who are arriving in Europe given the huge responsibility now on the shoulders of our European neighbours, including by taking in 3000 children who travelled to the EU alone, as well as families in desperate need.
  2. Contribute to and support an EU-wide strategy to address the crisis when European ministers meet on 14th September. A comprehensive EU plan would need to include:
    – Continued search and rescue efforts, improved safe and legal routes into Europe, and significantly improved reception and processing facilities
    – Shared responsibility for resettlement and relocation and a better coordinated asylum system across the EU Increased support to the regions most affected by the refugee crises
    – Redoubled diplomatic efforts for a long-term political solution to the crisis
  3. Continue to direct UK aid to alleviate suffering and promote long-term development in the fragile and conflict-affected states refugees are fleeing – avoiding any long-term diversion of aid to domestic refugee and resettlement programmes.

We, the undersigned, believe these measures will relieve suffering in the immediate term, and help create a lasting solution to the current crisis.


Jane Waterman, Executive Director, IRC UK


David Bull, Executive Director, Unicef UK

Girish Menon, CEO, Action Aid UK

Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International

Tanya Barron, CEO, Plan International UK

Amy Dodd, UK Aid Network Director, UK Aid Network

Justin Forsyth, CEO, Save the Children

Loretta Minghella, CEO, Christian Aid

Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive, Human Appeal

Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive, World Jewish Relief

Andrew Brian Betts, Director, Advantage Africa

Nigel Harris, Chief Executive, Farm Africa

Mark Goldring, CEO, Oxfam

Rose Caldwell, Executive Director, Concern Worldwide UK

Tim Pilkington, Chief Executive, World Vision

Laurie Lee, CEO, CARE International UK

Mike Mandelbaum, Chief Executive, TB Alert

Diane Sheard, UK Director, ONE Campaign

Mark Lattimer, Executive Director, Minority Rights Group International

Kevin Cahill, CEO, Comic Relief

Merlin Matthews, Founder & CEO, Re-Cycle

Richard Reeve, ORG Coordinator, Oxford Research Group

Dr. Sarah Thomas de Benitez MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Consortium for Street Children

Libby Powell, CEO, On Our Radar

Simon O’Connell, Executive Director, Mercy Corps Europe

John Rendel, CEO, PEAS ‘Promoting Equality in African Schools’

José Sluijs-Doyle, Chief Executive, African Initiatives

Josephine Carlsson, Director, Feed the Minds

Chris Head, Chief Executive, Meningitis Research Foundation

Dr Adrian Brown, Chair, Maternity Worldwide

Ciaran Maguire, CEO, Karuna Trust

Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director, GAIN

Anil Patil, Founder and Executive Director, Carers Worldwide

Bob Chambers, Chief Executive, Feba UK

Andy Carl, Executive Director, Conciliation Resources

Gerry Boyle, Chair, Odanadi UK

Sheniz Tan, Director, Asfar

Cliff Allum, Chief Executive Officer, Skillshare International

Nik Kafka, Chief Executive Officer, Teach A Man To Fish UK

Jude Williams, CEO, Tzedek

Bert R Smit, Chief Executive Officer, ADRA-UK

Shona Lockyer, Chair of Trustees, The Kambia Appeal

Patricia Young, Director, Child to Child

Anna Cannon, Director and Ethiopian Coordinator,  Midwives Ethiopia

Steve Crump, Executive Director, DeafKidz International

Margaret Owens MBE, Director, Widows for Peace through Democracy

Dr Sana Ul Haq Ahmadzai, Chairman and Trustee, International Committee for Rehabilitation Aid to Afghanistan (ICRAA)

Alison Wallace, CEO, ShelterBox

Rupert Simons, CEO, Publish What You Fund

Ben Simms, Chief Executive, THET

Sarah Javaid, Executive Director, MADE

Ibrahim Hewitt, Chairman to the Trustees, Interpal

Keith Tyrell, Director, Pesticide Action Network UK

Martin Gilbraith, Principal Consultant, Martin Gilbraith Associates Ltd

Tom Franklin, Chief Executive, Think Global

Paul Cornelius, CEO, Food for the Hungry UK


Adam Leech, Chief Executive, Y Care International

Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, ADD International

Nicola Macbean, Director, The Rights Practice

Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO, Islamic Relief Worldwide

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, NCVO

Madeleine Bates, Chief Executive, Teaching-aids at Low Cost

Sue Corbett, Executive Director, INASP

Mark Stavers, Chief Executive, Viva – Together for Children

Felix Kupay, Founder and CEO, ENTRAIDE

Jo Baker, Chief Executive Officer, International Service

Dr Husna Ahmed OBE, CEO, GLOBAL ONE 2015

Dr. Dipankar Datta, FRCP (Lond), Chairman, SAVE-UK.

Lionel Foy, Managing Director, LITC

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