Britain needs to bring unaccompanied child refugees in Europe to safety like it did before World War II, said Save the Children.
This message is echoed by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron in his Private Members Bill.
On Tuesday Farron will urge government to support his bill and programme to take in 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea, who have been displaced by conflict.
“If the UK government will step up and accept just 3,000 of these children, who have been processed by UNHCR and have been confirmed as having no identifiable family, then we can go on to press the rest of Europe, and indeed the world’s, governments to do the same,” Farron wrote in a statement.
Referring to the 10,000 Jewish children Britain rescued from Nazi Germany in the run up to the Second World War, Farron said: “We need a new Kindertransport to save another group of vulnerable children, and send a clear signal of the renewal of the British values of which we are so proud.”
Asylum Aid welcomed this bill. “The government’s current position that refugees shouldn’t be making these journeys to Europe is untenable,” spokesperson Zoe Gardner told Westminster World.
“They are here, and the children are here, and they’re suffering unimaginably.”
Increasing numbers of refugee children
In the year ending June 2015, there were 2,168 asylum applications from unaccompanied aslyum-seeking children (UASC).
According to government statistics, this marked a 46 percent increase from the previous year.
Of all applications for asylum in the year ending June 2015, eight percent were from UASC.
Kindertransport: A British tradition
Before World War II, Britain rescued 10,000 Jewish children fleeing Nazi persecution in what became know as the ‘kindertransport’.
— GA Holocaust Commiss (@holocaustgagov) December 2, 2015
According to Save the Children, these children have gone on to “enrich our national life beyond measurement”.
Farron stressed that unaccompanied refugee children are incredibly vulnerable and often go missing, much like the 4,000 children registered in Italy in 2014.
“There is a real risk that these missing children were subject to trafficking, forced labour and exploitation,” said Farron.
“Europe cannot continue to let this happen.”