Breaking News: the UK will welcome more vulnerable refugee children
Pressure from leading charities pushes UK government to step up its response.
In response to growing pressure from across the political spectrum, the UK government has announced it will provide protection for unaccompanied refugee children.
The decision follows months of campaigning by leading charities including Save the Children, calling for the UK to do more for the most vulnerable refugees.
Yesterday saw the pressure intensify after David Cameron came under fire for referring to people in camps in Calais as “a bunch of migrants.”
While the decision to take in more vulnerable minors is a welcome move, there have been mixed reports on what the announcement means.
The good news is, the government has said:
- A £10m fund will be set up by the Department for International Development to provide additional targetted support for unaccompanied refugee children in Europe.
- It will work with the UNHCR to identify “exceptional cases of unaccompanied children whose needs cannot be met” in the regions near Syria and other war-torn countries. These minors will be considered for resettlement in the UK.
- The UK will work to accommodate some of the refugee children who have already arrived in Europe alone. Where possible, it will also make efforts to reunite children with their families elsewhere in Europe.
It is impossible to fully imagine what it must feel like to be a child, forced to complete such a dangerous and painful journey alone. In addition to the trauma of separation from their home and their parents, they are vulnerable to forced labour, prostitution, and human trafficking as well as further physical and mental harm. The announcement is therefore a significant step in the right direction.
“The news today that the government is going to do more for thousands of lone child refugees has the potential to transform their lives,” said Alasdair Roxburgh, Head of Humanitarian and Conflict Campaigns at Save the Children. “We welcome the government’s promise to help reunify children with their families already here along with steps to better support agencies on the frontline of the response in Europe and the UK.
“Months of campaigning have got us to this point and the benefit for these children will be massive. It is in keeping with Britain’s proud history of offering a safe haven to vulnerable children and we hope the government lives up to this by realising the ambition of today’s announcement.”