As Refugee Day 2006 takes place today at the beginning of Refugee Week (19th - 25th June) Green Euro MP Jean Lambert has given her support to the thousands of refugees bringing unique and individual skills to the UK.
Last year 25,720 applications for asylum were made in the UK, the lowest year since 1994 but London's Green MEP said, there are still thousands of people suffering everyday in poor conditions where lives are at risk.
Jean, who was named MEP 2005 for her work on Justice and Human Rights at the end of last year today commented; "Refugees do not leave their home because they want to. They do not have a choice and are forced to leave because their life is in danger due to war, conflict or political oppression If future we shall see more people moving because their environment has become so degraded or damaged that they can no longer survive or make a livelihood in their homeland. These people have no international protection.
"Whilst the climate change crisis we see before us continues to evolve, the poorest communities remain the most vulnerable. Local water supplies are threatened and rising sea levels and dramatic changes in weather leads to a loss of land and crop reduction.
"Many refugees live in hope that one day they can return to their homeland but whilst a variety of reasons often means that this is impossible their contribution to life in the UK is invaluable. Refugee Day and the rest of the week gives us all an opportunity to not only celebrate the skills refugees and asylum seekers bring to the UK but to also reflect on the environmental damage life in the UK is having on the rest of the world, ultimately destroying people's homes. We need political action to reduce conflict, protect human rights and protect our planet."
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Morwenna Holland, Media Officer
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.