COMMONS

Situation of child refugees examined

16 February 2017

The Home Affairs Committee has called an urgent evidence session on the situation of unaccompanied child migrants, after the Government announced last week that the "Dubs Amendment" plan to accept 3,000 unaccompanied minors already at camps in Europe was to be scaled back, with the plan now only to accept 350, 200 of which are already in the UK.

Witnesses

Wednesday 22 February 2017, Thatcher Room, Portcullis House

At 2.30pm

  • Lily Caprani, Deputy Executive Director, Unicef
  • George Gabriel, Project Lead, Safe Passage UK
  • Martha Mackenzie, Deputy Head of Government Relations, Save the Children
  • Melanie Ward, Associate Director, Policy and Advocacy, International Rescue Committee

At 3.30pm

  • Tam Baillie, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Richard Crellin, Policy Manager, Poverty and Inequality, Children’s Society
  • Cllr David Simmonds, Local Government Association

Chair's comment

Yvette Cooper MP, Chair of the Committee said:

"The Government has said it is closing the Dubs scheme for lone child refugees just 6 months after it started and only 9 months after Parliament voted for it.

And they have stopped the fast track Dublin scheme for lone child refugees in France whose family are Britain.

This is a very big and sudden change in policy where children's lives and futures are at stake – and where Ministers have provided no evidence behind their decision.

That is why we will be taking urgent evidence this week from one of the Childrens Commissioners and organisations working with child refugees across Europe on what the impact of this decision will be. We are particularly concerned to ask about the impact on trafficking and whether more children will be at risk from criminal gangs. And we will hear from councils  about the capacity they really have and the support they need to deliver.

Ministers said the reason they changed policy was because councils won't take any more and because it would prevent people trafficking. But they haven't provided evidence on either of those claims. That is what we want to get to the bottom of now."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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