Lord Alf Dubs will this morning join child refugees to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street, calling on the Prime Minister to honour the legacy of the Kindertransport by committing to give 10,000 refugee children safe passage to the UK over 10 years.
The petition has been organised by Lord Dubs and the refugee charity Safe Passage as part of the Our Turn campaign, which is asking the UK to resettle 10,000 children, the same number saved from Nazi-occupied Europe on the eve of World War II during the Kindertransport operation.
The petition, which has gathered over 30,000 signatures, calls on the Prime Minister to ‘act in the spirit of 80 years ago and make a commitment to child refugees today.’
Lord Dubs, himself a former child refugee who arrived in the UK on the Kindertransport said:
“On the eve of World War II I was lucky enough to escape Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia and find safety in the UK, but some of my family died in the Holocaust because they had no safe route out. In refugee camps today, children survive in conditions so appalling that some are attempting to take their own lives. Others disappear into the hands of traffickers. We can and must do more to help.”
“As other countries close their doors Britain has an opportunity to show global leadership on the protection of child refugees. That’s why we’re asking Government to commit to resettle 10,000 children at risk from Europe and beyond over the next 10 years. This petition shows that across the country, people are ready to welcome more child refugees.”
The Our Turn campaign is also calling on councils across the country to pledge to welcome child refugees if the government commits to funding their resettlement.
Safe Passage CEO, Beth Gardiner-Smith, said: “Safe Passage is working with children in Greece, Italy and France in desperate situations, some are street homeless, many are living in camps with their lives on hold. When introduced, these schemes offered a lifeline of hope to so many children, but all we’ve seen is delay after delay. When so many children are in such need, we are calling on the Government to renew its commitment to refugee children and back a new scheme that would see 10,000 children at risk resettled from Europe and conflict regions over the next 10 years.”
The petition’s delivery comes as Safe Passage and Lord Dubs revealed new figures on the numbers of unaccompanied children that have been resettled in the UK in the last two years.
The government’s flagship Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme promised to resettle 3,000 vulnerable and unaccompanied children from conflict zones when it was launched in 2016 but a Freedom of Information request has revealed that just 20 unaccompanied minors have been brought to the UK through the scheme.
Meanwhile, the government has confirmed that less than half of the 480 ‘Dubs scheme’ resettlement places for unaccompanied children in European camps have been filled.
Lord Dubs said: “Unaccompanied children in camps in Europe and conflict zones globally have very few routes to safety. These government figures suggest that in the past two years Britain has only taken a few hundred children, yet 20,000 unaccompanied children arrived into Europe last year. When over half a million children are in need of resettlement globally, Britain could do so much more to help some of the most vulnerable.”
Beth Gardiner-Smith added: “When the VCRS scheme was announced, we were told it was specifically designed to help the most vulnerable unaccompanied children from the region. The fact that just 20 lone child refugees have since come under this route is shocking when we know they are some of the most vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation.”
Among the young refugees joining Lord Dubs to deliver the petition will be 15 year old Ali. After fleeing conflict in Eritrea and Yemen, Ali survived the capsizing of a smuggler’s boat from Libya to Europe in which his mother and brother drowned. Following a legal battle by Safe Passage, Ali was later able to join his aunt in the UK.
Ali said “I am going to do anything and everything that I can, to ask Theresa May to help all other child refugees. Safe Passage helped me to be with my aunt, and it’s my turn to support them to help more children in this campaign.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Photo call outside Downing Street at 11.00 on 05/11/18, petition to be delivered at 11.30.
k.tewolde November 5, 2018
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Goitom November 6, 2018
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k.tewolde November 6, 2018
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Sol November 6, 2018
Goitom, one fresh name for Mr many names.
Simon G. November 7, 2018
Shilan nebsi (your new batized name: Goitom)
Unless you are here 24/7, there is no way you can realized that.
it is just like Newton’s Third Law. To be clear, for any action there is a reaction!