U.K.'s Refugee Crisis Response 'Too Low, Too Slow,' Say Senior Lawyers

Almost 350 legal professionals have signed a letter calling the U.K.'s response to the refugee crisis "deeply inadequate" and demanding that safe and legal migratory routes be established for refugees attempting to reach Britain.

The letter states that the U.K.'s current offer to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees from the Middle East over the next five years is "too low, too slow and too narrow."

It states that safe routes to the U.K. should include humanitarian visas and also calls for the suspension of the Dublin Regulation, which requires refugees to apply for asylum in the first EU country they enter.

Signatories to the letter include Sir Nicolas Bratza, a former president of the European Court of Human Rights, and four former Law Lords including Lord Nicholas Phillips, the former president of the U.K. Supreme Court. Though more than 100 former senior judges (Queen's Counsel) have signed the letter, no serving judges have done so. The letter has a total of 342 signatories.

The first of the 20,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled in the U.K. arrived in September, the BBC reported. The U.K. has provided more than £1 billion ($1.5 billion) in aid to Syria and recently pledged an additional £100 million ($153 million) to charities assisting people displaced by the conflict.

The U.K. has opted out of an EU plan to resettle a total of 160,000 refugees from member states, which began on Friday with the relocation of some 20 Eritrean refugees from Italy to Sweden.