Safe Passage with other human rights groups are organising a rally this coming Monday, 20 January, at 1pm in Parliament Square, calling on peers to support refugee family reunification by voting for an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill to protect child refugees when the UK leaves the EU.
Lord Alf Dubs will be one of the speakers at the event. As a child he escaped the Holocaust by coming to England with the Kindertransport.
Many ministers and peers have suggested they do not want to support the amendment, as it might reduce the UK's ability to negotiate a deal with the EU. Lord Dubs said it is "disgraceful" to use child refugees as a bartering chip with the EU, describing the move to drop family reunion rights from the withdrawal legislation as "a betrayal of Britain's humanitarian position."
In 2016 Lord Dubs sponsored an amendment to Immigration Act to offer unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain. Originally rejected by the House of Commons the amendment was accepted by the government following a second vote in favour by the Lords. However in February 20-17 the Home Office abandoned the scheme after inly accepting 350 of the planned 3,000 children.
There are believed to be more than 4,000 unaccompanied refugee children in Lesbos, Greece and several hundred in northern France. The majority of them are living outside formal camps.
'Seeking Sanctuary' aims to raise awareness about people displaced from their homes and to channel basic humanitarian assistance from faith communities and community organisations via partnerships with experienced aid workers. Our special concern is for the 2000 or so exiles who are stuck north-western France, mistakenly expecting a welcome in the UK.
They need food, water, good counsel and clothes, which are accepted, sorted and distributed by several organisations, including two Calais warehouses which also supply needs further afield.
Safe Passage: - www.safepassage.org.uk/
Seeking Sanctuary: - https://seekingsanctuary.weebly.com/
Lord Dubs speaking last week: https://twitter.com/Anthony_M_Kelly/status/1215007512489070592
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