ExCoS attend Rally and Lobbying Day of Action at Parliament for Child Refugees of Calais and EU on 24th October. Subsequent Parliamentary Debate – 2nd November ’17
“We thank the British people and parliament for giving us peace. We found a beautiful life in the UK, so different to the life we fled. We were suffering, but now we are safe.” Plaque presented to Lord Dubs by ‘Children of Calais’
Safe Passage and Help Refugees organisied a Day of Action on the 24th Oct’. holding a rally with supporters outside Parliament. ExCoS was represented and attended with other campaigners from Plymouth and Cornwall. Lord Dubs, Yvette Cooper called on the the Government to restart transfers under Dubs and to speed up access to and processes of family reunification . A rep. from some of the young people brought from Calais last Oct.thanked parliament for bringing them to safely. Later a group of 20 resettled teenage refugees presented a plaque to Lord Dubs .
Photo: ExCoS rep. Clare Henry and campaigners from Plymouth and Cornwall with Lord Dubs at the Parliament Day of Action for #childrenofcalais and EU.
There was also be a parliamentary debate on the issue on 2nd. November with 24 MPs attending and questioning Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis about Dubs and family reunification.. These were important events to bring pressure on Government and to get the#ChildrenOfCalais and EU back on the political agenda. ( more at: https://twitter.com/hashtag/childrenofcalais)
Following this campaign Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis announced
A new temporary accommodation Centre for 20 young people has just opened near Calais.
He also reported that some UASCs were now arriving here from EU indicating that Dubs has restarted.
The first unaccompanied minor from Greece was transferred on 19th November (14 months after he was first identified as eligible by HO and a place offered by a London Council.). www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/refugee-child-14-month-delay-dubs-amendment
“We remain committed to transferring 480 children from Europe to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act. We have accepted further referrals this year and transfers are ongoing. We will continue to work closely with EU partners and local authorities to transfer eligible children here quickly and safely..………We are working closely with the Greek authorities and the UNHCR to put in place processes for identifying and transferring unaccompanied children from Greece under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 and the Dublin Regulation.” Home Office Spokesperson
Background: On October 24th it is one year since the Calais ‘Jungle’ was demolished and thousands of refugees were displaced. At that time, thanks to pressure from grass roots organisations and individuals the Government successfully transferred 750 child refugees from France to Britain through Family Re-Unification and the ‘Dubs’ Amendment schemes. We need to keep the pressure up, and repeat this success.
There are still hundreds of unaccompanied child refugees living rough in the woods at Calais (estimated 300-400) and under the constant threat of police violence. There are nearly 3,000 in Greece with many being held inappropriately in police cells, detention and reception centres with unknown adults -or homeless. Unicef has warned that only a third of the nearly 3,000 unaccompanied refugee and migrant children currently in Greece are receiving proper shelter and care. (Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/media/media_101396.html )