April 21 2016 - The programme announced by the Government today to resettle 3,000 refugee children in the UK over the next four years has been welcomed by the development agency Christian Aid, but stresses that the plans are too slow and lacking in adequate ambition. It ignores the thousands of vulnerable unaccompanied minors already in Europe who need assistance.
The scheme will include the resettlement of children from North Africa and the Middle East who are at risk of forced labour, child marriage and other forms of exploitation, as well as unaccompanied minors in the region. It will be implemented over the next four years.
Tom Viita, Senior Political Advisor at Christian Aid, said: “While today’s announcement to provide refuge to 3,000 vulnerable children is welcome, it ignores some 26,000 unaccompanied minors, as well as the hundreds of thousands of adults, who have already arrived in Europe and who are extremely vulnerable, living in a perpetual state of displacement and distress. They are at the mercy of people traffickers and now find themselves trapped by border closures. The UK has a moral responsibility to help provide a safe home for these people as well.
“Instead of the decisive action that is needed, the Government’s response is once again too slow and too reluctant. The Government’s commitment to resettle only 3,000 children from selected regions over the next four years doesn’t go nearly far enough to address the global refugee crisis.”
Christian Aid is urging the UK Government to:
• resettle far higher numbers of refugees, broaden the nationalities it resettles and significantly accelerate the implementation of the 20,000 Syrians it has already agreed to resettle in the UK;
• introduce a system of humanitarian visas to the UK, including via third countries;
• strengthen and implement adequate measures for family reunification;
• take up its responsibilities to relocate refugees already in the EU.
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Notes to editors:
The 13 aid agencies are: Action Aid UK, the British Refugee Council, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Doctors of the World, Freedom from Torture, IRC-UK, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan UK, Refugee Action, Scottish Refugee Council and World Vision.
This comment relates solely to the matter in hand and does not imply support for or opposition to the UK's membership of the EU. Oxfam believes that is a matter for the British people.
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To arrange an interview with the Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, who co-chairs the National Refugees Welcome Board, please contact Amy Merone at Christian Aid on email@example.com / 0207 523 2288.