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Lord Roger Roberts write…highlighting the plight of child refugees

September 30, 2016 1:59 PM
By Lord Roberts of Llandudno in Liberal Democrat Voice

Tim Farron speaking on unaccompanied refugees (Liberal Democrat Newswire)The Refugee Crisis is especially severe when we look at the fate of those who are young and alone. The United Kingdom is pledged to accommodate those most in need. The Dubs amendment originally called for 3,000 to be allowed into the United Kingdom. This was defeated and I sat on the bench in the Lords as 200 Tories marched through the Not Content lobby. These fathers, mothers and grandparents were trampling on the hopes of thousands of "other" children. Eventually an amendment was approved obliging the government to accept an unspecified number of children. We are told that throughout Europe there are 88,000 unaccompanied asylum seekers.

Human Rights Watch says that alarming numbers of migrant children in Greece are being detained in deplorable and depraved conditions. Unaccompanied minors - some as young as 14 - are being held in substandard and chaotic detention centres across the country in flagrant violation of international and Greek law, the group said in a report on Friday.

"Children are being detained for weeks and months, and are being made to live in filthy, bug-and-vermin-infested cells, sometimes without mattresses or access to showers," said Rebecca Riddell, who authored the report.

In Camps at Calais and Dunkirk, in Island camps,and many other places it was a similar story and in the "Jungle" youngsters faced another winter. However the French President proposes that the Refugee camps at Calais and Dunkirk are to be demolished by October 31. There are more than a thousand young unaccompanied refugees in these camps The Immigration Act 2016, Dubs amendment, gives HM government an obligation to admit unaccompanied child refugees - at the most 30 have been accepted since act became law on May 10 this year.

The closure date of October 31 makes this a most urgent issue and parliament is in recess until a week on Monday! I'm urging as many as possible to to write at once to the Prime Minister to demand that UK fulfills its obligation. A mass of letters from young UK folk could help stir the government!

Meriel has a question on our first day back on October 10. Mine is, at the moment, later in the month -"What steps is Her Majesty's Government taking to fulfill the obligation under the 2016 Immigration Act to accept unaccompanied child refugees before the camps at Calais and Dunkirk are demolished, according to the French President, on October 31

* Lord Roberts of Llandudno is a Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords