Labour peer vows to continue to campaign for rights of unaccompanied child refugees

Lord Dubs has pledged to continue his campaign to guarantee family reunion rights for unaccompanied child refugees after EU withdrawal despite a Commons defeat.

Conservative MPs voted down the measure last week despite support in the House of Lords and appeals from children’s charities.

Lord Dubs (pictured), a Labour peer and former child refugee, told the Big Issue magazine that anyone who has visited the refugee camps in Greece or Calais cannot fail to be moved by the plight of the stranded refugee children.

“There can be few sights more moving and distressing than children with no family, in a foreign country where they don’t speak the language, living in makeshift shelters, overcrowded camps or rough on the streets.

“The journeys these children undertake can take years and are fraught with danger and exploitation. My journey here as an unaccompanied refugee child aged six took two days on a train from Prague and pales in comparison to the journeys being undertaken by the child refugees of today.

“Some of the children in the camps or on the streets have family here in the UK, perhaps the only surviving relatives they have. Their right to be reunited with that family is enshrined in law, but that law will be scrapped when we leave the EU if the government gets its way.”

Lord Dubs told the magazine that the public’s support has been “overwhelming”, adding: “I believe that the way we treat the most vulnerable people is a test of who we are, what kind of country we hope to live in and what humanity we have.

“Britain has a proud tradition of humanity and hospitality towards child refugees, myself included, so although our campaign suffered a setback, it is not over. The next challenge will be fought over the next few months. Children are counting on us to win it.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Katie Collins / PA Wire.

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