The announcement by government that they are to stop the scheme to bring vulnerable lone refugee children to the UK under the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 has shocked and outraged many of us. The government seeks to blame local authorities. However, many believe that the government failed to properly consult local authorities or to provide adequate resources to continue the programme.
There are thousands of children still living in extremely difficult conditions throughout Europe including Greece, Italy and France. Children are alone and at risk of exploitation and abuse. Many are putting themselves in extreme danger in order to survive or to reach safety, for example through prostitution or attempting to cross borders illegally.
The UK should be leading the way in offering sanctuary to refugee children in Europe. The decision to stop the transfer scheme after accepting only 350 children goes against the spirit of the Dubs amendment and has been criticised by voluntary organisations and MPs of all parties. By ending safe and legal routes to sanctuary, the government is effectively leaving children in the hands of the traffickers.
GMIAU worked with children at the camp in Calais before it was closed and is working with some of those left behind to reunite them with family members in the North West. This work must continue and other vulnerable children in Europe should also be given refuge in the UK under the Dubs scheme.
What can you do to help?
- Write to your MP. Tell your MP that you want them to stand up for the children who have no voice. They may not have a voice but you have. Ask your MP to show support by pressing the government to let more Dubs children in.
- Write to your local councillors. Ask them if they support the call to keep the Dubs scheme open, how many spaces are available for children in their area, and whether the Home Office has ever consulted them on the places available. To find out how to contact your local MP and councillors go to www.gmiau.org homepage and in the bottom right hand corner type your postcode into ‘contact your politician’. Please send any responses to GMIAU – we are supporting other organisations to challenge the government’s assertion that there are not enough places for more Dubs children.
- Sign Alf Dubs’ petition. Lord Dubs – who arrived in the UK as part of the kindertransport – has set up a petition to challenge the government to let more children in. Sign the petition.
- Donate to GMIAU and help us represent separated children who have arrived in the UK and can’t access legal aid.
- For more information about how to get involved in this campaign contact Denise McDowell by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 0161 769 8822