Refugee Children & the Dubs Scheme

Sadia was one of our first volunteers in the School Bus Project's Calais2017 programme which is continuing to provide education in the Northern France.

She wrote to her MP, Gavin Shuker, on a personal basis, following her experiences with the School Bus Project, expressing her concerns about the ill-treatment of children and young people, among others.

Gavin wrote back and has kindly agreed that his response can be published here:

Thank you for contacting me about refugees in Calais and for sharing your expertise in this area.

Our country has a proud history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution and, as we face the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, I believe we must continue to play our part by taking our fair share of refugees.

I have long believed that the Government should be doing more to help unaccompanied child refugees, both by reuniting those with family in the UK and by resettling some unaccompanied children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 - the Dubs scheme.

As highlighted by the Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF), we know that unaccompanied child refugees are highly vulnerable to trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse. According to UNICEF, some 30,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Greece and Italy in 2016.

Last year, the Government announced that the Dubs scheme would end after resettling only 480 children in the UK. This is incredibly disappointing and far short of the commitment that was expected when Parliament debated and accepted the Dubs amendment in 2016.

I am strongly of the view that the Government should recommit to meeting the obligations of the Dubs amendment by restoring the scheme and accepting more of some of the most vulnerable children in the world. I also agree that more should be done to reunite families, and I share concerns about the efficiency of the processes in place for those who are entitled to join family in the UK, particularly children.

We must also ensure that when refugee children come to the UK, they are treated fairly and that local authorities such as ours have adequate resources to provide them with the support they need.

As this crisis continues the Government must fulfil not only its legal but its moral obligations for refugees, and I can assure you that I will continue to follow this matter very carefully. Thank you once again for writing to me on this extremely important issue.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin Shuker MP

Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Luton South

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