Equalities Secretary Angela Constance today thanked the people of Scotland for their support in what was a truly national response, with 29 local authorities receiving Syrian refugees to date.
She also praised the country’s quick response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria – up to June this year Scotland received a third of refugees who have arrived into the UK through the Syrian Resettlement Programme.
The New Scots refugee integration strategy has been in place since December 2013 and provided a strong foundation for Scotland’s response to the refugee crisis. As part of this, partnerships, networks and frameworks were designed collaboratively to support refugee integration from day one.
Ms Constance said: “People in Scotland were shocked by the humanitarian crisis in Syria. There was a groundswell of people looking to know how they could help and wanting to see our country take a stance and offer a warm welcome for those who sought refuge. The response has been phenomenal and we have seen the hand of friendship extended to those seeking to flee war.
“Scotland has now welcomed more than 1,200 refugees through the Syrian resettlement programme, and we have done this by cooperation and collaboration. Over the past three years the Scottish Government, COSLA, local authorities, and charities including the Scottish Refugee Council have worked together, crucially, with the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees, to ensure the best possible approach to welcoming refugees through the New Scots strategy.
“The First Minister convened a Refugee Summit on 4 September last year, which brought together all the key stakeholders. This meant when the Syrian Resettlement Programme was announced on 7 September, all of these organisations were quick to reflect the mood of the Scottish people by stating their willingness and desire to help, stepping up and responding immediately.
“We will continue to have an important role to play in helping these refugees settle into their new lives in Scotland, and the Scottish Government will continue to work with local authorities and COSLA to offer a place of safety to those fleeing war and persecution.”