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Thursday, July 20, 2017

UK letting down child refugees

The Guardian reports that not a single extra lone child refugee has been brought to Britain from Europe under the “Dubs amendment” this year.

An urgent Commons question raised by the outgoing Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, brought forth cross-party criticism that it is taking too long to process eligible refugee children in Europe to bring them to Britain.

The paper says that Home Office ministers have confirmed in written answers that only 200 children were transferred under Dubs in 2016 after the closure of the Calais camp and 280 local authority places remain to be filled:

The Dubs amendment, known as section 67, was passed in April 2016 amid a campaign to bring 3,000 lone refugee children stuck in camps in Europe to Britain. Ministers initially estimated local authority capacity at 350 but extended it to 480 in April after saying there had been “an administrative error” in the initial figure.

Lily Caprani, of Unicef UK, said: “It’s unacceptable that we have seen no children brought under the Dubs scheme this year. As a nation we showed our compassion and our principles when we helped refugee children stranded in Calais, but we were told this was not the end of the story. We are seeing too many children still having to make dangerous journeys to reach safety.”

In the Commons, Farron said it was hard to see the government’s response as anything more than lip service and demanded to know when the “measly commitment” of 480 would be met. “I have visited the camps in Greece and elsewhere – something neither the home secretary nor the prime minister have done. I have met these children who, through no fault of their own, find their lives paused as ministers have chosen to ignore them,” said the Lib Dem leader.

“Has the UK government even signed a memorandum of understanding with Greece to get these transfers under way? I know of two young people who signed a consent form to be transferred under Dubs over a year ago. They are still stuck in Greece.”

This Tory UK Government is failing its humanitarian responsibilities.
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