Tim Farron MP: Give willing UK families a chance to foster refugee children
Just over three months ago the tragic death of a little boy and his brother exposed the world to a refugee crisis which governments, including our own, had been doing their best to avoid.
As you will know, that three year old boy was Aylan Kurdi and his brother was Galib. Both were Syrian refugees travelling with their parents to seek safety and sanctuary in Europe.
United Nations Human Rights Commission’s latest figures show that over 900,000 people have made similar journeys, over sea, to Europe this year and that 23% of these are children. That’s over 200,000 children who have fled their homes in search of a new life in this year alone.
Many of these children have travelled with their families, as Aylan and Galib had before they drowned.
But tens and thousands of children travel alone. They are without parents or relatives, and have made their way to Europe in the toughest of circumstances.
It is this particularly vulnerable group which our bill aims to support. The bill would award of asylum-seeker status in the United Kingdom to certain unaccompanied children from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Eritrea displaced by conflict and present within the European Union
I know that there are enough families willing to foster an unaccompanied child. For example, Home for Good has registered 10,000 prospective adoptive families. Although they will not be ready to step up immediately, if the Government supports local authorities and agencies to provide the requisite training the UK will be well equipped to support these children.
I see this scheme as extolling the values of the Kindertransport and brining into the modern age.
It could not be clearer these children deserve our support and our help. And any suggestion that they don’t is nothing to do with their own safety- it is solely to do with the inability of our government to act upon the values they claim to uphold. Values which include helping seekers of sanctuary and protecting the young.
Politicians from all parties in this country are agreed the Kindertransport, which brought over unaccompanied Jewish children from Germany in 1938, was the right thing to do. Now we need a new Kindertransport to save another group of vulnerable children, and send a clear signal of the renewal of the British values of which we are so proud.
Save the Children "wholeheartedly welcomed" Tim Farron’s call to action, warning that these accompanied children are facing Christmas alone and in danger.
Read more here.