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Talks unfolding for support of refugees

Discussions have kicked off to draw up a system to support refugees if they are brought to Malta as part of the widespread EU resettlement proposal.

Representatives of the business community, local councils, the Church and civil society have come together to support any decision the government will be taking about the allocation of refugees, said Claudia Taylor-East, CEO of SOS Malta, which is leading these discussions.

Ms Taylor-East was contacted after a recent proposal by Birżebbuġa local councillor Hermann Schiavone to adopt a Syrian refugee family gained the support of councillors in other localities.

In a Facebook post on September 4, the Nationalist councillor said that faced with such a human tragedy of refugee movements, society could not remain passive and said he would be proposing that the Birżebbuġa council supported a Syrian refugee family.

The move follows a wave of solidarity by civil society across all of Europe as four million are reported displaced by the Syrian conflict

Since then, a number of NGOs, the Malta Emigrants’ Commission, representatives of the councils from the three main political parties, and the business community started discussing a plan of action. However, they have to wait until a decision is taken on how many, if any, refugees are allocated here.

Ms Taylor-East said the representatives were drafting a plan of ways to support the government’s decision. If a plan of action was ultimately put in place, this should be a national effort and everybody should show their solidarity.

The move follows a wave of solidarity by civil society across all of Europe as four million people are now reported to have been displaced by the conflict in Syria.

SOS Malta has been responding to humanitarian crises since the 1990s, including during the war in Kosovo.

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