Please help to provide shoes and phones for the refugee children soon to be evicted from the Calais Jungle

Nicole Redfern, Devon Development Education staff member, and Pauline Hastings, another friend of DDE, have been involved in supporting refugees at  Calais and are appealing for funds to help children as the camp closes. We think this is a cause that DDE supporters may wish to help – please see Nicole’s letter below. If you would like to contribute you can send your donation to DDE; we are pleased to help Nicole processing the donations; this is not a regular DDE project and  your entire donation will go to help the refugees.

Please help to provide shoes and phones for the refugee children soon to be evicted from the Calais Jungle

Within the next few weeks, the French government will evict the 10,000+ people currently living in tents and shacks on a patch of wasteland next to a motorway in France.

By the latest count, there are 1,022 children and teenagers living alone in tents in the camp.

So far, “very limited information has been provided about measures proposed to ensure safe, adapted facilities for the unaccompanied minors”. Unless something is arranged soon, it is likely that when the camp comes down, many hundreds of children will have nowhere to go.

Which means that they are likely to start walking.

And when they start walking, they are likely to start disappearing. When the south part of the camp was demolished in March, 129 children ‘went unaccounted for’ which is a formal way of saying ‘we have no idea what happened to them’.

Before these young people are evicted, it is vital that they have proper shoes on their feet and phones in their hands.

Many of the boys are currently wearing broken flip-flops and falling-apart plastic sandals. This will be a big problem when the weather becomes cold and wet. It is an even bigger problem when they need to walk across Europe or run away from danger.

Phones mean access to information in their own languages. Phones can store photos of ID documents, essential for asylum applications, and videos which can be shown to officials to commence the asylum process. Most importantly, phones mean a number to call and GPS to pinpoint children’s locations in an emergency.  In the absence of any formal scheme of support from the British or French governments, this is the bare minimum needed.

All funds raised will be used to meet the immediate needs of the children in the Jungle camp.

Please give what you can as soon as you can. Cheques payable to Devon Development Education can be sent to:
DDE, Exeter Community Centre, 17 St David’s Hill, Exeter, EX4 3RG
01392-438811

dde@globalcentredevon.org.uk

www.globalcentredevon.org.uk

Other ways to help these children …
387 children of these young people are legally eligible to come to the UK, under the Alf Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Bill(209) or through the Dublin III Family Reunification Process.

Ask the government to expedite these cases [which have been identified by Safe Passage]

Raise your voice. Talk to people. Make them aware of what is happening in Calais – and not happening in the UK.  Express your outrage to politicians.

Write to your MP (www.parliament.uk/mps-loard-and-offices/mps) .

Write to the Home Secretary on amber.rudd.mp@parliament.uk or public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

Contact your local councillor. (democracy.devon.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx)

 

Liberty | Refugee Children: Dubs or Dublin?

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17 October 2016

Refugee Children: Dubs or Dublin?

by Rachel Robinson

You may have heard the news that a small number of children have arrived in the UK from the Calais refugee camp.

These children have been brought to the UK under the Dublin Regulation, which obliges our country to take in unaccompanied children with certain family members here, when it is in their best interest.

But there is a separate second safe route to the UK, spearheaded by Lord Alf Dubs and accepted by the Government in May, that could provide a lifeline for lone children without family members in this country.

While the Government is finally making progress under Dublin, not a single child has yet been brought to the UK under the Dubs scheme – nearly six months later.

The terms ‘Dubs’ and ‘Dublin’ have been freely and frequently confused and conflated by politicians and press in recent weeks.

So what are the UK’s obligations to the children of Calais?

What is the Dublin Regulation?

The Dublin III Regulation is used to establish which member state is responsible for determining the claims of those seeking sanctuary in the EU.

It recognises the importance of upholding the family unity of asylum seekers and – in particular – the need for lone children to be reunited with their families.

First and foremost, the Regulation requires that “where the applicant is an unaccompanied minor, the Member State responsible shall be that where a family member [father, mother or another responsible adult], or a sibling of the unaccompanied minor is legally present, provided that is in the best interests of the child.”

Where a child doesn’t have such a close family member in an EU country, but does have an aunt, uncle or grandparent able to take care of him or her, the child’s claim should be considered in the country where that relative is resident, provided this in in the child’s best interests.

In Parliament last week, the Home Secretary committed to bring “as many minors as possible under the Dublin regulation before clearance commences” – and 14 children were transported from the dangerous and soon to be demolished Calais camp in the last few days.

With each child brought from that desolate place to safety here, the Government chips away at the official reticence blocking the legal right of these children to join their families.

But with more than a thousand lone children in the camp, now is the time for a major breakthrough – not a slow trickle.

What is the Dubs scheme?

Lord Dubs’ amendment to the Immigration Act requires the Home Secretary – as soon as possible after the Act passed in May – to make arrangements to relocate to the UK, and provide support to, a specified number of unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe.

Under the Dubs scheme – unlike under Dublin – children are not required to have family members in the UK.

The Dubs scheme could be implemented under an optional provision of the Dublin Regulation, which lets a member state take responsibility for an individual –including a child with no family in this country. It could also be fulfilled by a separate agreement with the country where children are staying.

The number of children to be resettled is left for the Government to decide in consultation with local authorities. The Government has specified that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children will be resettled from Greece, Italy and France, where they arrived in Europe before 20 March 2016 and it is in their best interests to come here.

The Home Office made clear in July that, under Dubs, they are “targeting children at risk who need to be resettled and will not be restricting the scope of the policy only to those we are obliged to accept under Dublin”.

Last week, the Home Secretary confirmed to Parliament that “the children that can be dealt with under the Dublin arrangements are not, by any means, all the children we want to take…” – but she gave no details about how many and how quickly children eligible under Dubs will be transferred, saying only that they must be looked after in safe facilities in France.

How you can help

Not one child has yet been brought to our shores under the Dubs scheme, despite the Government’s promises. Councils across the country stand ready and willing to support these vulnerable children – but the Government has yet to provide any details of how they intend to fund or implement the scheme.

Liberty’s campaign Protect Refugee Children is urging local councillors to sign a Statement of Support, showing that they want to play their part and demanding that the Government provide clear details of how the necessary funding and infrastructure will be provided.

Please write to your councillors today and send a strong message to the Government – the time to act is now.

Liberty is supporting an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill, currently working its way through Parliament, designed to ensure proper provision is made for the safeguarding of children identified for inclusion in the Dubs scheme.

A full briefing on the amendment is here.