The Calais 'Jungle' Camp and Unaccompanied Child Refugees December 2016
Thank you for contacting me recently regarding unaccompanied child refugees.
I have long believed that the Government should be doing more to help unaccompanied child refugees, both by reuniting those with family in the UK and by resettling some unaccompanied children under the "Dubs amendment" to the Immigration Act 2016.
It is thanks to the campaigns run by UNICEF and others over the course of this year that the Government eventually changed its position on this issue.
It was welcome to hear recently that over 750 unaccompanied children from the Calais 'Jungle' camp have now been transferred to the UK. The Home Office has clearly accelerated the processing of some child refugees, but the Government knew for months that the Calais camp was to be demolished. Children were living in this camp in appalling conditions and at the mercy of people smugglers and criminal gangs. I pay tribute to the volunteers and UK staff who worked there in difficult and dangerous conditions.
I agree though that there is more to be done, particularly for those children who have travelled to Greece and Italy. I would therefore like to hear more from the Government about any plans to create similar expedited family reunion and Dubs transfers in those countries too. I can assure you that I will continue to follow this matter, and the Government's actions, very closely as we enter the New Year.
Thank you once again for writing to me on this extremely important issue.