Refugees: Coronavirus:Written question - HL3855

Asked on: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Refugees: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that refugees at the UK-France border belonging to at-risk groups, including (1) victims of trafficking, (2) unaccompanied minors, (3) LGBTQ+ persons, (4) people with disabilities, and (5) victims of physical, mental or sexual abuse, can access the necessary protections.
Answered on: 22 May 2020

The identification and relocation of vulnerable migrants on French territory remains the domestic responsibility of the French government, who are currently working to transfer those residing in camps into reception centres. At these centres, asylum claims can be lodged and any other welfare needs assessed. Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in France, over 600 migrants have been moved to accommodation centres to aid with social distancing measures. Within these centres, individuals are provided with medical and administrative support.

The UK is also committed to meeting our obligations to transfer unaccompanied children to the UK where they have eligible family here and where transfer is in their best interests under the Dublin Regulation. An unaccompanied child must first claim asylum in the EU Member State in which they are present, and the Member State must then raise a Take Charge Request with the UK Government.

Additionally, specialist trained officers are present at all of our Juxtaposed controls, who assist in supporting those identified as vulnerable. We work closely with both French and Belgian partners to ensure that these individuals receive the support they need. All officers receive regular training on safeguarding and when to seek support from a specialist trained officer. Special arrangements are in place at the Juxtaposed controls to refer cases with vulnerability elements to the French and Belgian Police.

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