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Respect the Rights of Young Refugees

This petition had 62,143 supporters

Dear Amber Rudd, 

We are three volunteers who met whilst working in the 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais. We were present during the closure of the camp and witnessed first-hand the failure of the French and U.K. governments to implement any comprehensive plans to safeguard these children before, during or after the evictions. We started this campaign and petition, because since the camp’s closure we have remained in contact with minors and have been shocked by the neglectful treatment they suffered - both in their day-to-day lives and in their dealings with the Home Office.

Your plan to halt transfers of unaccompanied refugee children under the Dubs Amendment, after having accepted just 350 children, is shameful. When the Amendment was passed it was widely agreed that 3000 would be a 'fair share' for the U.K to take in. There are 21.3 million refugees worldwide, and over half of them are under 18. Clearly we can and must do more.

We are also deeply concerned about the children who have had their family reunification requests rejected without being given the reasons for their refusal. Despite telling unaccompanied children during the closure of the Calais ‘Jungle’ that their cases to come to the U.K. would be processed fairly, the government decided to work within a scheme based on the Dublin III Regulations, but which operated outside of them. As a result, hundreds of children who have had their claims denied by the Home Office have been given no reasons for their rejections and no way to appeal, despite the fact that they have family waiting in the U.K.

Because the legal pathways for reaching the United Kingdom are closing, children eligible under both schemes are running away from accommodation centres across France to sleep rough in Calais and Paris, where they are vulnerable to trafficking and freezing temperatures, with the hope of getting across in more dangerous ways.

We call on the Government to respect section 67 of the Immigration Act and to transfer at least 3000 children from other European countries such as Greece, Italy and France, with all due haste.

We demand that the Home Office swiftly process the remaining family reunification cases of Calais minors formally under the Dublin III Regulations and grant them the full rights and protections it affords.

Yours sincerely,

Harriet Blackmore, Francesca Romberg, Sonia Curtis

Photo Credit: Benny Hunter

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