We were deeply saddened to hear of at least three children and one unborn baby dying in tragic circumstances last week in the English Channel. We express our condolences to all those who knew and loved those who lost their lives.
CCLC works every day with children and young people who have fled conflict and persecution and we will do all we can to continue to press for safe routes. We welcome the government’s commitment in the aftermath of this incident to act to ensure such a tragedy does not happen again.
But this means it must urgently rethink its approach and look again both at existing and proposed new laws as set out in the Nationality and Borders Bill, which do not provide adequate legal protection for vulnerable children and young people seeking safety in the UK.
We call on the government to:
- Listen to the voices of asylum-seeking and refugee children and their advocates;
- Rethink the Nationality and Borders Bill and its provisions that will make young children and young people less safe;
- Reinstate the Dubs Agreement, requiring the UK government to relocate and support child refugees from the rest of Europe, and expand family reunion provisions so refugee children and young people can be with their families;
- Create safe and legal routes for children and young people to seek safety in the UK;
- Ensure that sufficient resources are made available for the accommodation, support, recovery, education and integration of all child refugees arriving in the UK.
We believe an asylum system that upholds children’s rights should be a priority for the government and policies to support traumatised and vulnerable children would further the UK’s proud record as a haven for people fleeing persecution, conflict and human rights abuses.