Reader letter: We must do more for children refugees

PUBLISHED: 08:56 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:55 21 April 2017

Orphaned refugee children walking amongst the shelters at the Jungle refugee camp at Calais in France. (Picture: Chris Radburn/PA)

Orphaned refugee children walking amongst the shelters at the Jungle refugee camp at Calais in France. (Picture: Chris Radburn/PA)

I know that I am not alone in being very shocked by the government’s inexplicable decision to go back on its word to take up to 3,000 unaccompanied children from refugee camps in Europe.

This provision had been suggested by Lord Dubs (himself a child refugee from Nazi Germany) and approved by Parliament in 2016.

Only 250 children have arrived so far and I believe only 100 more will be accepted.

Last week a suggestion by a Conservative MP that local authorities should be asked how many such children they could accommodate was defeated after the government instructed its MPs to vote against such resolution.

Again, there is provision (under the Dublin Regulation) for children who have arrived in Europe to be reunited with their families who live in any European country, and yet — as Ms Douglas says in her letter — last year only eight children were transferred from Greece and Italy to the UK.

Another issue of deep concern is the government’s policy to return refugees who have completed their five-year probation period to their country of origin should that country be deemed safe.

For some this would be the desired option, but to be forced to leave after making the UK your home for such a long time seems excessively harsh.

I am ashamed of this country’s response to the refugee crisis. We cannot simply provide money and push the problem back on those European countries who have already taken more than their fair share of refugees.

I am a member of Norwich Amnesty who are in the process of setting up a sub-group to discuss what efforts we can make on behalf of refugees. We invite anyone who would be interested in participating to get in touch. It would not necessarily involve joining the main Amnesty Group.

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