Thursday, April 21, 2016

Unaccompanied Children in Europe Still Need our Help

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The Government have just announced that they will be taking 3,000 more unaccompanied refugee children from camps in the Middle East and Africa by 2020. This news will change the lives of thousands of children and our volunteers are looking forward to working with our partner organisations to offer them a warm welcome to their new home. However, we are conscious that this figure will not include any of the children who have already made it to Europe who still need our help.

We are worried that this announcement could undermine the amendments to the Immigration Bill that are due to be debated next week in the House of Commons. It is still important for MPs to support Lord Dubs’ proposed amendment which calls on the Government to take 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from Europe.

According to UNHCR in 2016 so far, around 7,600 unaccompanied children arrived in Italy and closer to home there are also around 450 unaccompanied children in Calais. In 2014, 3,707 of the 13,026 unaccompanied children who arrived in Italy in simply disappeared. We fear that many of the refugee children who have made it to Europe are at risk of being people trafficked into prostitution, child labour and the drugs trade.

The recent announcement from the Government does not change the fact that they are continuing to deny these children the chance to claim asylum in the UK. We have a moral responsibility to take our fair share of these children from Europe and give them the chance to return to school, live in a proper home and receive the love and care that they deserve.

MPs will also vote on three more positive amendments:
• Amendment 59: To give asylum seekers permission to work if their claim for asylum is not processed by the Home Office within six months.
• Amendment 84: To introduce automatic judicial oversight of detention and require the Home Secretary to gain permission from the courts to detain an individual for longer than 28 days.
• Amendment 85: To introduce an absolute exclusion on the detention of pregnant women, in line with recommendations in the recent Shaw Review.

This Monday MPs face an important choice to improve the lives of thousands of refugees. Time is running out to contact your MP to tell them to turn up to the debate and vote for these changes.

Please Take Action Today!!

Tweet your MP!

“(MPs twitter handle) Will you support amendments to the #immigrationbill to relocate 3,000 refugee children & let asylum seekers work? #letthemwork”
Top Tip: Head to http://tweetyourmp.com/ to find your MPs twitter handle!

Email your MP!

We’ve got a model e-mail that you can adapt and send to your MP. Get writing as soon as you can, as the Bill will be debated in the Commons on Monday 25th April. Top Tip: Head to http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ to find out who your local MP is!

More info

Have a look at the full list of amendments

Check out the Save the Children briefing on relocating unaccompanied children the Still Human Still Here Permission to Work briefing ; and the Detention Forum briefing on on Amendments 84 and 85.

Posted by STAR team on 21/04/2016 at 10:52 AM