Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Petition leads Manx government to review Syrian refugee stance

Syrian refugees Image copyright AP
Image caption The petition calls for the Isle of Man to take in 25 refugees by 2020

The Manx government will review its position on Syrian refugees after receiving a petition calling for the island to take its "fair share".

The petition, which has been signed by over 1,000 people, was delivered to Chief Minister Howard Quayle this week.

The MHK said it showed a "clear desire... to help", but it was "not simply a case of opening our doors".

The government had previously stated the island could not provide the "level of support" needed to help refugees.

Campaigners want the Manx government to reconsider taking in refugees through the UK's Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

The scheme has helped around 4,500 of those in the "greatest need" resettle in the UK.

Image caption Campaigners handed the 1,000 signature petition earlier this week

The petition calls for the new government, which has taken up power since the last decision on refugees was made, to reconsider and take in 25 Syrians by 2020.

Mr Quayle said the Council of Ministers would revisit the "complex and highly emotive" issue, but said "nothing has changed" in terms of the island's "constitutional position".

"There is a clear desire within our community to help Syrian people and this is reflected in the number of people who have signed the petition," he said.

"However, it is not simply a case of opening our doors to accept a relatively small number of refugees - there are many factors to consider."

A government spokesman added that as a Crown Dependency, the Isle of Man "cannot act on its own and must adhere to UK policy on refugees".

Since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria, the Manx government has donated more than £500,000 through the International Development Committee.

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