Following the dreadful news on the lack of progress on child refugees today I have written to Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill calling for action. The shameful lack of progress so far is a disgrace and a scandal.
I would have written to the Minister for Syrian Refugees but Theresa May scrapped the post in the reshuffle that followed her appointment as PM, a change that highlights the huge gap between Government rhetoric and action.
I find it hard to believe that nearly a year after the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi only 1602 people have been resettled in the UK under the government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Scheme. The current government’s commitment to meet the already modest 20,000 figure by 2020 is perhaps best demonstrated by the failure of our new Prime Minister to replace the Minister for Syrian Refugees.
It is also too heart-breaking for words to think about the thousands of unaccompanied children in Europe fleeing war and persecution, including the 170 children left to their fate in “the Jungle” in Calais despite having the legal right to join their families in the UK. Many of the children are less than just 10 years old.
In fact many of these children are so young that their carers would be left open to allegations of neglect or child abuse for sending them to the corner shop on their own. By taking legal action this week the Government have left these tiny children with a choice no child should have to make – between remaining in the camps, somehow paying another people smuggler, or trying to jump onto the back of a lorry or train in order to reach their loved ones in the UK. We must speak up for these children who have no voice of their own.
You can read the letter below: