The Refugee Taskforce

The Refugee Taskforce works across political lines to build support for helping those fleeing conflict and persecution.

The Taskforce is Chaired by Yvette Cooper and was set up by the Labour Party in response to the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

As millions of people have been displaced from their homes in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, we have seen increasingly desperate images of families struggling to survive in camps and risking their lives making the treacherous journey to Europe.

Over 1 million people entered Europe last year as a result of the refugee crisis and over 3,000 people lost their lives attempting the dangerous crossing. A quarter of refugees who arrived in 2015 were children, and Save the Children estimate there are as many as 26,000 unaccompanied children now on their own in Europe. 

In Calais and Dunkirk in Northern France, thousands of people, including families and hundreds of unaccompanied children have been smuggled to make-shift camps and are now living in mud and squalor.

In 2015 Germany, Sweden, Greece and Italy took the majority of refugees. The same four countries won’t be able to do the same again this year. The numbers of those arriving are far higher and women and children make up the majority of those risking their lives to try and reach Europe, and vulnerable to trafficking into modern slavery and prostitution.


UK Response

Under immense pressure from the British people, the Government agreed to take 4,000 refugees a year from Syria and neighbouring countries. 

It’s a start – but it’s not enough. And it doesn’t help the thousands of people who have already arrived in Europe and have little or no support.


The  Taskforce

The Refugee Taskforce is working with community groups, NGOs, local councils, employers and trade unions to campaign for a better response to the refugee crisis from the British Government and Governments across Europe. It draws on expertise from across the Labour movement and seeks to build consensus across Party lines around a practical and humanitarian response to the refugee crisis.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing from a new totalitarianism and Europe has to help – just as we did in generations past.

We should be strong enough and resilient enough to rise to the challenge not turn our backs

But we can only do that together.
— Yvette Cooper, Chair of The Refugee Taskforce