The First Minister has written to the Prime Minister expressing the view that the UK Government should take urgent action to resettle more unaccompanied refugee children in the UK.
The First Minister has written to the Prime Minister expressing our shared view that the UK Government should take urgent action to resettle more unaccompanied refugee children in the UK and offering the support of Wales in welcoming them.
We note that the French Government is set to demolish the ‘jungle’ camp in Calais. We are requesting, as a matter of urgency, that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, allow all those refugee children with a legal right to be in the UK into the country with the utmost urgency.
The children in the camp, some of whom have been as young as eight years old, have fled conflict and persecution and are now stuck in northern France, deeply traumatised and at considerable risk. During the last demolition of refugee camps at Calais, the charity Help Refugees reported that 129 children went missing.
Other reports suggest that three children have died trying to make their own way to the UK to reach their relatives here. The situation demands immediate UK Government action. We cannot fail these children. Every extra day we take places these children at greater risk.
On Monday, the Home Secretary announced that she is working with the French Government to quickly resettle those children who have a legal right to be in the UK under the Dublin Regulations. This is welcome. However, the UK has committed to taking more child refugees as part of the process laid out in the Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act (2016), and it is vital that we welcome as many of these children as possible.
Last month the Anti-Slavery Commissioner confirmed that a lack of faith in resettlement processes was a contributing factor pushing unaccompanied refugee children in Calais to risk their lives attempting to get to the UK and exposing themselves to modern slavery and exploitation.
We welcome the commitment in line with the Dublin Regulations but call on the Prime Minister to do more for the sake of these children. Wales is ready to support the UK Government in welcoming more vulnerable children as refugees via the Dubs Amendment.