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Israel Eguaogie, Chair of Belfast City of Sanctuary, has issued a statement welcoming the swift announcement by the British government to accept 5,000 Afghan refugees this year and each year up to a total of 20,000. “The Northern Ireland Executive should be pushing forward with an offer to take its share of these refugees. We took more Syrian refugees than any other part of the UK, and the success of that scheme shows just how welcoming the people of Northern Ireland can be. We have gained as a society by the way in which Syrians have enriched our culture, so let us now extend a hand of friendship to the Afghan people who are now enduring a catastrophe that is beyond imagination.”

Note: Belfast City of Sanctuary was set up five years ago in order to make Belfast a more welcoming city for refugees, asylum-seekers and new communities. It is a voluntary organisation which organises social, educational and sporting activities which bring people from minority ethnic backgrounds into positive and friendly relationships with people who have lived in Belfast all their lives.