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Government can’t walk away from child refugees

A lone child refugee looks over at the Acropolis in Athens - birthplace of democracy.
A lone child refugee looks over at the Acropolis in Athens – birthplace of democracy. Photo: Anna Pantelia/Save the Children

The government must not walk away from the Dubs amendment, which was passed in a spirit of generosity. This was a pledge to help the most vulnerable children caught up in the refugee crisis.

Every day, our teams on the ground across Europe hear from child refugees who have fled the horrors of war only to end up languishing in refugee camps, detention centres or on the streets with little hope of a better future.

Many of these children suffer from depression and even start to self-harm – and many resort to putting their young lives in the hands of criminal people smugglers to find sanctuary.

A clear commitment

Having made a clear commitment through the Dubs amendment, we cannot turn our backs on children who need our help – and who deserve better.

There are an estimated 2,300 unaccompanied children in Greece and 25,000 lone children arrived in Italy in 2016, yet not a single child has been transferred to the UK from either country under the Dubs scheme.

Communities across Britain have stepped up and shown they want to help. Now the government must do its bit and ensure that lone child refugees who are best off living in the UK are brought over safely and legally. And it must ensure that unaccompanied children who have loved ones here are reunited with them without the current unnecessary delays.

Maintaining Britain’s proud tradition

Claims that arrangements like the Dubs amendment could act as a ‘pull factor’ have no foundation in credible evidence.

In reality, these schemes offer a lifeline to children who are already in Europe and who might otherwise fall into the hands of criminal gangs and traffickers.

The government has a responsibility to uphold the spirit as well as the letter of the Dubs amendment – and to maintain Britain’s proud tradition of helping the most vulnerable children in the world.

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