There are signs that the Home Office may be responding to calls to recognise the plight of Syrian Christian refugees, as the second quarter of 2018 has seen greater numbers permitted to resettle in the UK.
Following a Freedom of Information request made by Barnabas Fund, the Home Office revealed that in the second quarter of 2018 (1 April – 30 June), ten Syrian Christians were resettled in the UK. The figures seem to show an improving situation compared to last year, when only eleven Syrian Christians were resettled for the whole of 2017.
In the first quarter of 2018, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) recommended 1,358 Syrian refugees for resettlement in the UK, of which only four were Christians. All the Christians were refused by the Home Office.
Although the latest figures suggest a move in the right direction, overall Christians remain significantly underrepresented. Following Barnabas Fund’s publication of the figures for the first quarter of 2018, a number of newspapers, including The Times, highlighted the story.
Christians constituted around 10% of Syria’s pre-war population and have been singled out for attack by Islamic State and other jihadist rebel groups. Even with the inclusion of the refugees most recently resettled, Christians still make up less than 1% of the Syrian nationals resettled in the UK to date.