Protect Child Refugees & Restore Dubs Scheme
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I am extremely disappointed that the Government, particularly the Home Secretary, has decided to end the 'Dubs Scheme' at a mere 350 refugee children, as opposed to the more widely held and expected 3000 children. This decision vastly increases the vulnerability of, and the level of hardships faced by, child refugees because it significantly increases their risk of being exploited, smuggled and trafficked. For instance, the charity 'Safe Passage' recently stated, some "...boys are prostituting themselves just to survive in Greece" and the termination of Dubs Scheme effectively undermines what was "a symbol of hope for everyone." Another example is the charity 'Help Refugees', which uncovered that "...many children were being exploited, forced to work on farms or in the sex industry." (See further here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/09/refugee-children-devastated-by-end-of-dubs-scheme).
We even saw last year that Europol conservatively estimated that approximately 10,000 unaccompanied children went missing in Europe (see here: http://missingchildreneurope.eu/Missingunaccompaniedchildren). We, as a country, should be taking our legal duties and responsibilities towards refugee children much more seriously, and in consonance with 'The Refugee Convention' (1951) and the 'Convention on the Rights of the Child' (1989) respectively.
Another issue concerns both the quantitative and qualitative nature of the consultations that took place between the Home Office and local authorities and/or Councils, particularly in the light of some of them expressing doubt. This is crucial because it was the predominant reason offered by the Home Office for its decision to lower the cap to 350 children under the Dubs scheme. As expressed by UNICEF UK's Deputy Executive Director, Lily Caprani, there prima-facie seems to be an inconsistency in the rationale offered: "The decision on the Dubs scheme is a political choice and the blame cannot be put on our local authorities. With an average of 2 children per council to be transferred by the Dubs scheme, we cannot claim to have helped our fair share of the more than 30,000 unaccompanied children who arrived in Greece and Italy last year." (See further: https://www.unicef.org.uk/press-releases/dubs-decision-huge-blow-children/).
I therefore ask that you consider the following when deciding whether to support this petition:
(1) The Government's need to genuinely honour the commitments given in ratifying the international treaties, supra, as opposed to merely giving lip-service to human rights in "high-sounding" language;
(2) The insufficient reach of the UK authorities in finding and identifying refugee children in Greece and Italy who may have been eligible for transfer under the Dublin III Regulation and the Dubs scheme;
(3) The limited resources that were devoted to the processing of refugee children in Greece and Italy;
(4) The short time-frame of the Dublin and Dubs process in Calais, which failed to address the continuing arrival of unaccompanied refugee children to the area in the absence of safe and legal routes; and
(5) The Government's failure to look again at the overarching policy and failure to consider widening its family reunion rules so as to allow child refugees, wherever they may have been located, to be re-united with their families here in the United Kingdom.
Law LL.B. (Hons), LL.M. (with Distinction), Ph.D. (in progress)
Summary: Law Doctoral Candidate & Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) at the University of Leeds; Former Managing Director at Golden Moment Ltd & Author of 'Easy Money' (2008); Representative/Researcher at Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SoS) Group in Ireland; Member of Liberty UK; Member of JUSTICE UK; Member of the Labour Party, Society of Labour Lawyers, the Labour Campaign for Human Rights (LCHR); the Haldane Society of Lawyers, Amnesty International UK & the 'Urgent Action Network', the UK Constitutional Law Association (UKCLA), United Nations Association-UK (UNA-UK), the World Food Programme (WFP) & #ZeroHunger Champion, UNICEF UK Children's Champion, and The Fabian Society, inter alia.
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