Scotland is UK nation most supportive of refugee children

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23rd May 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

More people in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, support the Westminster government decision to accept unaccompanied child refugees from Europe.

International children’s charity World Vision UK found 59% of Scots are happy at the decision announced last week compared with the UK average of just 43%.

The poll carried out by YouGov also found that only 31% of Scots opposed the move, compared to 41% across the UK.

Tim Pilkington, chief executive of World Vision UK, said: “The warm-hearted Scottish people have sent out a clear message – we must not turn our backs on these desperate children.

“We now urge Scottish local authorities to be generous and give sanctuary to several thousand of the most vulnerable refugee children.”

Shockingly, many thousands of refugee children have already gone missing. No-one knows into whose hands they have fallen and what fate awaits them

David Cameron’s u-turn last week means the UK will now accept refugee children registered in Greece, Italy or France before 20 March - when the EU struck its refugee deal with Turkey.

Previously the UK had only been accepting children directly from refugee camps in Syria and neighbouring countries.

However with there thought to be thousands of refugee children orphaned in Europe there has been widespread disapointment that the prime minister refused to say how many Europe based refugees the UK would accept.

World Vision UK is calling on the UK government to outline a clear timetable for accepting refugee children.

The charity's survey found half of the Scottish people polled believe the UK should accept more than 1,000 unaccompanied refugee children and almost a third believe the country should take more than 3,000 children.

Pilkington added: “Hundreds of thousands of children fleeing the horrors of the war in Syria have ended up stranded on the shores of Europe. Tens of thousands are orphaned, living in squalid camps and surviving without their parents’ love and support.

“Shockingly, many thousands of refugee children have already gone missing. No-one knows into whose hands they have fallen and what fate awaits them."

Meanwhile, Unicef UK says it knows of 157 unaccompanied child refugees legally allowed to enter Britain due to having immediate family members already in the UK are stuck in France in dangerous and squalid conditions due to an abundance of red tape.

Under the Dublin III Treaty, refugees who have claimed asylum on entry to Europe and have immediate family members in the UK are entitled to request the UK takes charge of their asylum application.

However, the organisation says minors are being caught up in bureaucracy, forced to wait three months in France to have a legal guardian assigned followed by a further six months for their claim to be lodged.

Unicef UK deputy executive director Lily Caprani said: “By taking immediate action for these children, the government can take a crucial first step to show it is serious about its recent commitments to refugee children.”