Let child refugees in to UK! – Demands damning MPs committee report

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‘SIGNIFICANT numbers’ of child refugees must be ‘promptly taken in by the UK and cared for’ a Parliamentary committee has demanded.

The UK’s European Union Committee published their report ‘Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU’ yesterday. 90,000 child refugees travelling alone across Europe are living in ‘squalor, destitution and desperation’, the report states.

The Immigration Act 2016 made it crystal clear that the UK is committed to bringing in vulnerable refugee children from Europe to the UK, something that until the Act the Tories had refused to do. However, despite the Act becoming law in May a mere 20 children have been accepted for transfer to the UK.

The report concludes: ‘We urge the government to act promptly and to work in partnership with frontline France, Greece, Italy and the UNHCR to relocate significant numbers of unaccompanied migrant children to the UK. Relocation to the UK must take place as soon as possible, and in full accordance with individual best interests assessments.’

The report also highlights the alarming number of child refugees that are disappearing.

More than 10,000 child refugees are believed to have disappeared after arriving in Europe over the past two years, the EU’s police intelligence unit says.

The report states: ‘We deplore the failure by EU Member States, including the United Kingdom, to take urgent action following the announcement of Europol’s latest figures, which showed a further rise in disappearances.’

It continues: ‘Concerns have also surfaced about increasing numbers of child asylum-seekers going missing from care in the UK, and about links between such disappearances and human trafficking, sexual exploitation and organised crime.

‘This is not a new phenomenon. A 2012 joint report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults and the APPG for Looked After Children and Care Leavers described the numbers of children going missing from care in the UK as a “scandal”.

‘The problem appears still to be increasing at a dramatic rate. An investigation published in The Observer in December 2015 found that more than 340 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children went missing between January and September of that year, twice as many as in 2014. 132 such children remained missing at the end of 2015.’

The report also stresses the appalling conditions suffered by children in the refugee camps in France: ‘Conditions at the camps in the French Channel ports are also wholly unsuitable for children. The government should increase its efforts to work with the French government in improving the situation of children in these camps,’ the report concludes.

Committee chairwoman Baroness Prashar said the current refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian challenge the EU had faced in its lifetime.