migrantvoice
Speaking for Ourselves

Let the children in

Let the children in

Migrant Voice

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Let the children in

Across Europe 90,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum last year. Responding to this situation requires solidarity between EU members.

Migrant Voice are deeply concerned at the argument made by the UK government that bringing in some of these children may result in more children being sent on a risky journey into Europe. We can’t let children die or fall into the worst kinds of exploitation just so that we can send a message back to others. Do we want a dead or trafficked child as our message?

The Director of Migrant Voice Nazek Ramadan saw first hand on a recent trip to Calais how dangerous the current situation is for vulnerable young people. “I met a group of children and teenagers who were there without their families. One boy stood up to explain that he wanted to reach the UK so he could continue his education. He was only 14 but he had the bearing and language of someone 20 years older. I found it incredibly upsetting that he felt he had to stand in front of a group of adults and justify his own existence. A child should not be put in this position. The UK has a responsibility to help shoulder the responsibility of looking after the tens of thousands of young people who have fled the wars in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and are already in Europe alone and frightened.

It is not enough for the UK to give financial support to the countries in the Middle East that are housing most Syrian refugees. France, Italy and other EU countries are also asking us for help. We can’t let these countries struggle without showing solidarity. Even those children and teenagers who ‘just’ end up living on the streets are losing their chance of a normal childhood while politicians squabble.

It seems that public opinion may be pushing politicians to allow young people in who have family links to the UK. Let us hope this is the start of a more compassionate approach to supporting the unaccompanied children of Europe.