UK bows to pressure to take in more child refugees

Child refugees

Aid charity welcomes announcement after concerted pressure 

4th May 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Government ministers have finally bowed to pressure and will allow more child refugees into the UK.

David Cameron said the UK will take in more unaccompanied Syrian refugee children from Europe with an exact figure yet to be announced.

He had been under pressure to accept 3,000 child refugees who have made it into Europe unaccompanied.

Britain takes children from refugee camps in Syria and neighbouring countries but has so far refused to take youngsters who have fled and arrived in Europe.

The prime minister was facing a backbench rebellion in a vote next week over the issue but instead accepted a revised amendment to the Immigration Bill put forward by Labour peer Lord Dubs.

It means children registered in Greece, Italy or France before 20 March, when the EU struck a refugee deal with Turkey, will be eligible for resettlement.

Cameron told MPs: "I am talking to Save the Children to see what we can do more, particularly about children who came here before the EU-Turkey deal was signed.

The prime minister has today offered a lifeline to these vulnerable children - Tanya Steele

"What I don't want us to do is to take steps that will encourage people to make this dangerous journey because otherwise our actions, however well-meaning they will be, could result in more people dying than more people getting a good life."

Tanya Steele, chief executive of Save the Children said: “As an organisation which works with vulnerable lone children across Europe we welcome today’s significant announcement that the UK will offer them sanctuary and the chance to build a new life here.

“Refugee children, many of whom have fled war and persecution and have made dangerous journeys to Europe alone are now living on the streets, in overcrowded camps or locked in police detention.

“The prime minister has today offered a lifeline to these vulnerable children and we will work with the government and the UN to ensure that these commitments are rapidly implemented so that thousands of lone, vulnerable children can reach safety in the UK in the coming months.

“The UK government has today matched the great leadership they have shown in providing aid and support to Syrian refugees in the region by reaching out a hand to children already on European shores.

“This announcement echoes Britain’s proud history of offering safety at times of great crisis and we want to thank the members of parliament who have led the way in championing this cause, as well as the British public who have opened their hearts to refugee children.”