The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative Government is turning its back on child refugees and failing to live up to our obligations to them.
That’s why over 40 Liberal Democrat parliamentarians have signed letter to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, urging them to uphold the UK’s proud tradition of providing sanctuary to unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe and to deliver on the Government’s commitment to continue reuniting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from across the EU with their families in the UK.
Provide sanctuary to unaccompanied refugee children
The government must not to turn their backs on the children who need us now.
Providing refugees with safe and legal routes to sanctuary in the UK is also the best way to combat people smuggling and human trafficking, and to prevent people from making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel.
Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (the “Dubs amendment”) has been a lifeline for the 480 children resettled under it, offering them a safe home and hope for the future.
However, the Lord Dubs’ original amendment called for the Government to resettle 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children – and it is heart-breaking to think of the children who have been left behind.
We are urging the government not to turn their backs on the children who need us now, and to make a new commitment to resettle 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe over the next ten years.
Reunite unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with their families
The government must reunite unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with their families.
We are also deeply concerned about the Government’s proposals for refugee family reunion in negotiations over the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
The Government’s draft working text for an agreement with the EU would end the UK’s mandatory obligation to reunite unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with their families.
That would have terrible consequences: leaving hundreds more child refugees separated from their families and without a safe home, pushing more desperate people into the hands of people smugglers and human traffickers, and leading to more perilous attempts to cross the Channel in small boats.
We are therefore urging the government to change their negotiating position to match previous commitments to maintain refugee family reunion rights after the transition period.
The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need. The government must uphold this important British tradition.