Citizens UK’s Safe Passage programme celebrates today’s arrival of unaccompanied children from Calais ‘jungle’ camp

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Citizens UK’s Safe Passage programme welcomes the news that 14 unaccompanied children will be reunited with their families in the UK from Calais today by the government, with many more expected to arrive in the coming days ahead of the demolition of the camp. Previously family reunification for unaccompanied children in Calais has fallen to voluntary groups such as Citizens UK, who have reunited 60 children from Calais with family in the UK since March. Whilst welcoming today’s progress, Citizens UK will be working to hold the Government to its commitment to transfer all children eligible for family reunion ahead of demolition, and warns that we must not forget about the many Dubs-eligible children in this process.

Many of the children transferred today and in the coming days will be children supported through the Safe Passage programme, all of whom have family waiting for them in the UK.  Citizens UK will be assisting the government with the transfers and its volunteers from faith groups across the country have been engaged by the Home Office to help with the registration and transition of the children.

Commenting on the arrivals, Juliet Stevenson, actress and campaigner, said:

“Today is a proud moment for Britain. We did the right thing. The arrival of hundreds of vulnerable children from Calais to the UK in the coming days is in no small part due to the tireless campaigning of community leaders, the hard work of Citizens UK’s lawyers, and the Safe Passage team in Calais who have been working to safeguard children for over a year. Many children will sleep safely in warm beds tonight but in the coming days we must make sure every last child with a right to sanctuary here is brought to safety.”

Citizens UK has still not been made aware of how children from Calais eligible for transfer to the UK under the Dubs scheme will be identified, and how many of those will be brought to the UK. These are children who are particularly vulnerable and have no family in the UK. It appears that no system has been put in place to register and assess these children, despite assurances from Home Secretary Amber Rudd last week that the UK would take children who qualify under the Dubs scheme.

Commenting on the first transfers of the children Lord Alf Dubs said: 

"In the coming days Citizens UK’s Safe Passage team will be working round the clock to ensure that all children with a legal right to sanctuary in the UK are brought to safety. This includes the children eligible under the Dubs amendment, for whom there is still no official process in place. No child must be left behind in the chaos of demolition." 

"Looking ahead we must never allow a repeat of Calais. The Government must learn lessons from this situation and realise that it has a duty to make the Dublin mechanism work across Europe, as well as establishing a clear procedure for children without family eligible for sanctuary under the Dubs amendment."

Citizens UK is also commencing legal proceedings against the government for failing to introduce an actual process to facilitate the transfer of child refugees under the Dublin 3. There is no functioning state system and what system there is, is currently almost entirely dependent on private actors. The Home Office has been given until Tuesday to respond.

Ends 

Interviews are available, contact Charlotte Morris at Citizens UK on 07967818064.

Dubs and Dublin 3 explainer

Dublin 3 – existing law which governs EU asylum claims. States you should claim asylum in first EU country you reach. However, there is a clause by which if you are a minor and have close family in another EU country, you can apply to be with them while your asylum claim is considered.

Dubs – new amendment to the Immigration Act, brought by Lord Alf Dubs and passed in May, states that the UK will take “vulnerable unaccompanied child refugees” already in EU before 20 March (date of EU-Turkey deal). So not those with UK family, but they have to be on their own and from a recognised country where they are fleeing conflict (so for example Afghanistan, but not Tunisia), or under 13, or a girl, or an orphan.

Citizens UK and the Safe Passage programme

Citizens UK is the national home of community organising – a network of over 350 faith groups, schools and colleges that work together for the common good. They have been campaigning on the Syrian crisis for over 18 months and created www.refugees-welcome.org.uk to help coordinate the public’s response.

So far Citizens UK efforts to persuade councils to participate in resettling Syrian refugees have persuaded 44 councils to offer 3,097 places. They’ve identified 700 private landlords who are offering properties, persuaded a dozen universities to offer £3.5 million of scholarships for refugees and successfully challenged the Prime Minister to resettle at least 1,000 people before Christmas.

Safe Passage is a programme of Citizens UK, the programme is focussed on setting up a process so that those who have a good legal right to claim asylum in the UK may do so. For more information see www.safepassage.org.uk

 


Showing 12 reactions

  • followed this page 2016-10-23 21:18:21 +0100
  • commented 2016-10-19 15:07:16 +0100
    Why should age matter? We are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis for gods sake. They are all refugees and the UK could easily accommodate the whole of the Calais jungle. I see no problem with letting them all in and the people of the UK will make them feel very welcome. UK is 5th largest economy in the world and can easily afford it. Housing need not be a problem and I support the private members bill to encourage all social tenants on benefits to take in at least 2 refugees or risk losing their homes. Once Calais is empty we can then make a start on the camps in Lebanon and the displaced people fleeing Mosul can also be accommodated here. We are leaving the eu and it’s no one else’s business. If the objecting taxpayers don’t like it then they should move to another country.
  • followed this page 2016-10-19 14:54:58 +0100
  • commented 2016-10-17 23:10:48 +0100
    I repeat you have no means of knowing that he was 14. The unnecessary death of anyone is sad. It is however less sad, when that death occurs as a result of criminality. I also repeat that when Sweden conducted accurate age testing on their refugee “children” 90% of them were over 18. If gullible people such as yourself were not falling for every lie, we might be able to help the genuinely needy, not the men pretending to be boys.
  • commented 2016-10-17 22:57:09 +0100
    No concern for a dead 14 year old?
    I’ll leave you to your cynicism.
  • commented 2016-10-17 21:49:00 +0100
    I have concern for refugees. These, and the majority of the inhabitants of the Calais Jungle, are not refugees. I am a taxpayer – I am indirectly funding these people, so I have every right to comment. You say the boy who died, was 14. What proof have you got of this? These so called “refugees” are the criminals who hurl rocks at drivers, threaten them with weapons, and repeatedly attempt illegal entry into this country. I repeat you are naive beyond belief. I could equal ask why you are on this site – you are not showing concern for refugees? The people in Calais are in a safe European country, they are no more refugees than I am.
  • commented 2016-10-17 21:34:18 +0100
    The last boy to die after falling from a lorry was 14.

    Why are you on this website? You show no concern for these refugees.
  • commented 2016-10-17 20:59:58 +0100
    You are naive beyond belief. The people arriving in the UK today, from Calais are men, not children. They do not need anyone to look after them. I would put money on them absconding very quickly from whatever arrangements are put in place for their care. I also wonder how long it will be before these “children” apply for their wives and children to come and join them. I suggest you read the horrified comments in today’s press, and the universal cynicism regarding these kiddy winks actual age. It disgusts me because the refugee camps in Turkey are full of actual children. These con artists and scammers are taking actual children’s places. Sweden formally age tested some of these “children” – 90% we’re in their 20-30’s.
  • commented 2016-10-17 20:47:47 +0100
    I am a former teacher as well, and worked with this age range. I am not naive. I am caring.
    These children need someone to look after them. They have lost their childhood.
    One 17 year old was reunited with his uncle, who had not seen him for seven years. The boy’s brother had been killed in Iran. They may look older than their years. They have ben through a lot more than most 17 year olds in this country, who, by the way, are still considered children in our legal system.
  • commented 2016-10-17 19:58:57 +0100
    @ JEN Williams – I am a former teacher, who worked with this age group for years. Stop being so naive. These are not children. They are young men in their early to late 20’s. I hope the outcry in the National press, from The Times to The Daily Mail and beyond, puts a rapid stop to this. It is making this country a laughing stock.
  • commented 2016-10-17 19:52:44 +0100
    As a British taxpayer, I feel really pleases about this. I am sorry that it took so long, and would like to apologise for that previous comment from someone who has no teenage children or grandchildren of her own.
    My grandson is 14, and could easily be taken for a sixteen year old.
    Please can we get the rest over to be with their families who were lucky enough to be here first.
    It’s a long time since I have felt proud to be British.
  • commented 2016-10-17 18:09:03 +0100
    As a British Taxpayer, having seen the advanced guard, I am disgusted. The so called children arriving in the UK today must be laughing their heads off at the gullibility of people like you. Non of them were children. They were grown men. Mid 20’s to early 30’s. Where are the women, and where are the actual children?

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