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Sat, 25 May 2024

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Gov’t failing to address needs of children outside crisis-affected areas - Unicef UK

UNICEF UK

2 min read Partner content

Unicef UK statement in reaction to today’s Home Office announcement of a new scheme to resettle children at risk


Unicef UK welcomes the Government’s continuing efforts to safeguard and protect the rights of children fleeing war and persecution, and the Minister’s commitment today to do more to resettle children and their families at risk. However, by continuing to focus only on crisis-affected areas, the Government still isn’t addressing the needs of all children, including some of the most vulnerable of all who are trapped alone in Europe, despite having a legal right to join family in the UK. Safe and legal routes for these children must be a priority.

The implementation of the EU-Turkey deal and border closures have made the situation even worse for unaccompanied children in Europe. The deal could push children and families into taking other more dangerous routes. Just yesterday, 500 people were reported drowned off the Libyan coast in crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

We welcome the Government’s commitment to continue and intensify its efforts to expand and expedite the Dublin family reunion procedures across Europe, including in France, Greece and Italy. The 24 cases of children who have been accepted for transfer from France must be just the start, and we urge faster progress so that children from across Europe can be reunited with their families in the UK.

We also believe that the UK must review its family reunion rules, widening these to allow unaccompanied and separated children to join extended family more easily, and applying the rules more flexibly. It is important that no cap is put on the number of children that may be eligible to join their families here. A child’s best interest should always be at the heart of any immigration decision. 

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