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'Speed up child refugee process'

Campaigners are encouraging people to continue pressing MPs on welcoming unaccompanied refugee children stranded in Europe to the UK

On Monday MPs voted to agree to the revised "Dubs Amendment" to the Immigration Bill. The amendment, named after Labour peer Lord Alfred Dubs, initially called on the UK to welcome 3,000 children but was narrowly rejected in the House of Commons on 25 April. The revised amendment removes the commitment to take 3000 children, instead putting the decision on numbers in the hands of the government and local authorities.

After it became clear the Government was likely to lose the next Commons vote on the revised Dubs Amendment, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on 5 May that the UK would take in more unaccompanied Syrian refugee children from Europe, without committing to a specific figure.

The independent community organising group Citizens UK, which helped to form the National Refugee Welcome and Resettlement Board last year, is encouraging people to thank MPs for the success of the Dubs Amendment, but ask them to ensure that the most at risk children are relocated to Britain in time to start school this September. 

A statement on its website read: 

It was amazing to see, finally, the government agree to back the Dubs amendment last week.

We have all worked so hard to try and protect refugee children in Europe it was an incredible breakthrough to hear the Prime Minister commit to speeding up family reunion for refugee children and agree to consulting with local authorities and then creating a new route for the most vulnerable children in Europe to be relocated here whether they have family or not.

It’s important to celebrate victories like this, and to thank the government for doing the right thing. Yet we mustn’t forget how urgent the situation is. 10,000 children have gone missing, 95,000 need help, and 157 will spend tonight in the freezing mud of Calais even though they have families just the other side of the channel.

Will you join us in writing to your MP to thank them for the success of the Dubs amendment, and to ask them to ensure that all the children in Calais with valid family reunion claims and the first 300 of those identified as most at risk are relocated to Britain in time to start school this September?

Write to your MP here: http://write.refugees-welcome.org.uk/mp/write

Baptist Times, 10/05/2016
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