20/02/2024

SDLP Calls For New Palestinian Visa Scheme

The SDLP has called for the introduction of a Palestinian Visa Scheme to help thousands of displaced people in the region.

East Derry MLA Cara Hunter asked First Minister Michelle O'Neill if she would begin making preparations with the Home Office for a resettlement scheme as soon as it is possible to provide safe passage for people who have been left with nothing in Gaza.

The East Derry MLA has also written to Executive Office officials to commit to a scheme.
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Ms Hunter said: "The horrific scenes of violence from Gaza have shocked the world. A genocide is being inflicted on the Palestinian people, many of whom have lost everything, their homes, all of their worldly possessions and in many cases their families and loved ones. Anyone who can help has a duty to do so and the SDLP has been standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people long before the outbreak of this conflict.

"I understand the practical difficulties around providing safe passage for people in Gaza who are living in what's tantamount to a prison camp, under constant bombardment. However, the Executive Office must begin to explore options now and work with the Home Office to put a Palestinian Visa Scheme in place so that those who need to leave are able to do so quickly.

"Every day the calls for a ceasefire in the Middle East are growing louder, with more and more world leaders adding their names to those demanding a peaceful solution in the region. When a ceasefire is reached, the North and the rest of these islands need to be ready to play our part and offer asylum and refuge to Palestinians in their hour of need."


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