In May 2016 the Government made a commitment under the "Dubs scheme" to work with local councils to bring unaccompanied refugee children to safety in the UK. After months of waiting the first children finally started to arrive, but the process was slow and disorganised.
In February 2017, the Government announced that it was closing down the scheme after allowing a total 350 children to be resettled. We are deeply disappointed by this shamefully low number and the shirking of responsibility by our leaders.
In the face of an ever-growing crisis and increasing hostility to refugees across the Atlantic, Liberty will continue to call for our Government to play its part in easing the suffering of children forced to flee their homes.
Local and national support for refugee children
We worked with local councils to show there is support for resettling refugee children from all corners of the UK – from Belfast to Brighton, Norwich to York. Thanks to all those who emailed their councilors and signed our statement.
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to create a resettlement scheme to bring unaccompanied refugee children in Europe to safety in the UK. We recognise and support the vital role that local councils can and should play in caring for children seeking sanctuary.
We urge central government to provide funding to build the essential regional infrastructure necessary to secure the placement and support of children across the country and help us build them a brighter, safer future.”
Demonstrating local support for the Dubs scheme sends a strong message to central Government that they must do all they can to protect these vulnerable children.
A full list of councillors who have pledged their support to the statement can be viewed here.
Offering sanctuary to those fleeing war and terror is one of the most pressing human rights issues in the UK today.
Child refugees endure violence and separation from family members; lose access to education, healthcare, the support of their communities and often face bleak and uncertain futures.
A recent report from UNICEF revealed that children seeking sanctuary across the continent face routine exploitation and abuse, and many have already disappeared into the hands of traffickers.
The UK has a long tradition of providing refuge to those escaping persecution and indiscriminate violence.
Last year the Government committed to Lord Dubs' scheme - himself a child of the Kindertransport - to bring refugee children stranded in Europe to safety in the UK.