Home Secretary meets remarkable refugees to celebrate World Refugee Day.

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Home Secretary Theresa May has today marked World Refugee Day by meeting and hearing about the remarkable lives of five people given sanctuary in the UK after fleeing war and persecution in their home countries.

Home Secretary Theresa May has today marked World Refugee Day by meeting and hearing about the remarkable lives of five people given sanctuary in the UK after fleeing war and persecution in their home countries.

To mark the start of Refugee Week, which begins today (20 June), the Home Secretary invited the refugees to have tea with her at the Home Office in central London.

Theresa May said:

“The UK has a proud and enduring tradition of helping those in genuine need of our protection and giving them support to build new lives in this country.

“It has been a privilege to meet these inspiring individuals and hear about the contribution they make to life in the UK. Refugees like those I have met today have played a vital part in shaping Britain in the last sixty years.”

The refugees who met the Home Secretary included Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche, a monk who founded the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre to be built in the West and Carlos Arredondo, a Chilean singer, songwriter and poet.

This year represents a milestone in the global effort to support refugees, the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention, which sets out the rights of refugees and states’ legal obligations.

The UK continues to provide sanctuary to some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. More than 3,300 people have so far been safely resettled in this country through the Gateway Protection Programme (GPP), which began in 2002.

Every year it brings up to 750 particularly vulnerable refugees with no prospect of returning to their home country to the UK from refugee camps and urban areas around the world.

In their first year in the UK, the refugees receive the support they need to integrate into British life, including housing, healthcare and education.
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