Latest news > UK discrimination against Syrian Christian refugees a national scandal

UK discrimination against Syrian Christian refugees a national scandal


11 October 2016

A freedom of information request has revealed that less than 2% of Syrian refugees resettled by the UK government were Christians. The figures show that between 7th September 2015 and 30th June this year the UK government resettled 2,592 Muslims, 51 Christians and 13 Yazidis under its “Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme”. This is despite increasingly widespread recognition that Christians and Yazidis face genocide at the hands of Islamic State and other jihadist groups.

Syrian Christians resettled in Australia by Operation Safe Havens
Syrian Christians resettled in Australia by Operation Safe Havens

Syrian refugees resettled in the UKNumber of Syrian refugees resettledPercentage resettledPercentage of Syrian population (pre-war)Under/over representation in UK refugee resettlement
Muslims2,59297.5%87%+278
Christians511.9%10%(-215)
Yazidis130.5%<0.3%Too small to be statistically significant
Druze30.1%3%(-76)

The UK government has promised to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, but at this rate less than 400 of those will be Syrian Christians. If they were resettled proportionately with Muslims the UK would admit 2,000, as they made up 10% of Syria’s pre-war population. Whilst the UK government points out that it outsources its selection of vulnerable refugees to the UN, its toleration of this level of discrimination against some of the most vulnerable people in the world is itself morally wrong. For it to tolerate this when Christians and Yazidis are actually facing genocide in Syria and Iraq is a national scandal of historic proportions.

Barnabas Fund has urged the UK government to accept more Christians and other vulnerable minorities from Syria, but our calls have been ignored.