**UPDATE: The Government said they would replace the scheme to reunite refugee children with their families post-Brexit. This petition is now calling to make sure the government stick to their commitment, that reunification is a mandatory obligation, and that they protect the right to appeal**
Right now, the Government are preparing to scrap a scheme which enables child refugees and asylum seekers to be reunited with family members in the UK.
Hannah and I have both volunteered in Calais, and I spent 9 months in Greece, supporting refugees who had fled war and persecution. We witnessed crisis situations in both places, where children and vulnerable people are forced to live in overcrowded and dangerous camps, filled with rats and fraught with violence - or on the streets. Scrapping this scheme will leave children stranded in these places.
It is our duty to help vulnerable children reach safety. That’s why I’m calling on the Home Office to protect this scheme.
Experts have stressed for years that scrapping the system will not mean that less people will try to come to the UK. It just means the routes they take are more dangerous - potentially forcing children into the hands of traffickers, into lorries or unseaworthy boats. This year, people have gone missing and even died attempting to cross the channel in boats.
Brexit shouldn’t mean that the UK stops helping the most vulnerable children. The existing scheme between EU member states has enabled many children to reach safety, after having seen their homes destroyed, lost loved ones, and faced extreme levels of violence and persecution.
After a withdrawal date, on this Government’s watch, these children will receive the news that there are no longer any safe routes for them to reach their families here in the UK. The long waiting times of the current reunification scheme has meant that many young people have already lost hope; some have sadly taken their lives. These are children who have already been through so much. Each and every one of them has the right to a safe home - every child does. For some, re-finding their families is their only remaining hope.
The current system ensures that a safe and legal passage exists for refugee children and that’s why this petition urges the Home Office to keep the scheme after Brexit- in a no-deal or deal scenario.
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