Amber Rudd: Reunite child refugees with their families in the UK
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The ask to the Government
Right now, refugee children are alone and exposed to danger, while their family members wait desperately for them in the UK. The Government can and must change this, by urgently reuniting children with their families. To do this, the Government must:
1. Speed up the process for reuniting unaccompanied children in Europe with their families in the UK.
2. Widen immigration laws to allow children to be with extended family members who can care for them.
Responding to pressure from our campaigners, the UK Government has pledged to bring 850 refugee children from Calais to the UK, reuniting many of them with their families. But we must not stop here. Many more children in Italy, Greece and across Europe have fled war and persecution and are still waiting to be reunited with their family.
The threats children face as they travel alone across Europe to reach family in the UK, are the same as those that confronted the children in Calais. The UK must continue to fulfil its legal and moral right duty to protect refugee children from traffickers, violence and sexual exploitation. Sign our petition to ensure all refugee children are able to reach their families safely.
Join Emma Bunton, Cat Deeley, Ralph Fiennes, Keeley Hawes, Sir Chris Hoy, Ewan McGregor, Sir Roger Moore, Andy Murray, Rita Ora, Lord David Puttnam, Vanessa Redgrave, Claudia Schiffer, Michael Sheen, David Walliams and Jessie Ware in adding your name to the campaign.
How the Government can reunite families
The UK Government must take urgent action to reunite unaccompanied refugee children with their families in the UK.
It can do this in two ways:
1) It is unacceptable that refugee children have been stuck for months in wretched camps from Greece to France, despite having a legal right to be with their families waiting for them in the UK. The UK Government must speed up existing family reunion procedures, so that these children can be reunited with their families in the UK.
2) It is wrong that children are only able to reunite with parents, not extended family members, under current UK immigration laws. These laws fail to recognise that after years of conflict, many of these children have been orphaned – but they may have grandparents, aunts and uncles, or adult brothers and sisters in the UK who can care for them. The UK Government must widen its family reunion rules to allow children to be reunited with extended family in the UK.
By reuniting children safely and legally with their families, the UK can protect children from drowning at sea, suffocating in the back of lorries or being forced into the hands of traffickers and smugglers.