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After Trump’s refugee ban, scrapping of UK scheme to help vulnerable refugee children sends deeply worrying signal

8 February 2017 - Christian Aid has condemned the UK government’s decision to close the scheme set up to bring unaccompanied asylum seeking children to Britain.

The Dubs amendment was passed in May 2016 at the height of the European refugee crisis and was supposed to ensure that 3,000 lone children were given protection in the UK. The Government has announced the scheme will close after only relocating 350 children.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Tom Viita, Head of Advocacy at Christian Aid, said: ‘Protecting people fleeing their homes is no one country’s responsibility – it demands global cooperation. Today’s announcement is not only a broken promise to vulnerable children, but a rejection of our international responsibilities.

‘After Trump’s refugee ban in recent weeks, it is shocking to see the UK sending out another deeply worrying message to the rest of the world. Theresa May and her government need to be pulling Trump up, rather than following him downwards.

‘The international community, the UK included, needs to find a fair way of sharing responsibility for people forcibly displaced from their homes. We are experiencing global displacement on a level not seen since the Second World War. Poor countries are hosting most people in dire need and here we are once again, one of the richest countries in the world, attempting to shirk responsibility.’

The announcement by the government earlier today states that local authorities only have provision to provide housing and care for 350 unaccompanied children. Responding to that claim, Mr. Viita continued:

‘UK immigration policy is set by Ministers in the Home Office, not local authorities. Passing the buck to them is an abdication of responsibility.

‘The UK needs to play a full role in the international community’s response to the refugee crisis and work with other nations to find effective longer-term solutions that honour everybody’s human dignity.’

Christian Aid works through its local partners around the world to support refugee communities displaced by conflict. In the UK and Europe, we advocate for long-term practical solutions to global displacement, including the resettlement and relocation of refugees, as well as greater investment in addressing the root causes of displacement worldwide.

For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact Amy Merone on amerone@christian-aid.org or 07850 242 950.  

Notes to editors: 

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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