The second part of a landmark court case was held in London this afternoon (20th January 2016). Led by Citizens UK, lawyers argued that under EU Regs, Dublin III, three Syrian unaccompanied minors (one of whom is a carer for an older brother with learning difficulties) currently in Calais, but with nuclear family in the UK, should be allowed to come here.

We are absolutely delighted to say that we have just received the news from Citizens UK that the court ruled in favour of this.

The four all fled Syria last September and arrived in Calais in October. Since then they have been sleeping outdoors in conditions described by Michael Fordham QC in court as “undignified and intolerable” with people living in “a state of distress and total deprivation”. All four have been suffering from trauma.

George Gabriel, Citizens UK said: “We are delighted with the judgment and look forward to being able to see these families, who have been so cruelly separated by war; reunited and safe. This judgment highlights that there are safe, legal routes to reconnect families using the Dublin III regulations, and we hope will allow other families to be reunited.

“The judgment is also tinged with sadness. We know that Masud, who died just days ago, aged 15, suffocated in the back of a lorry, trying to reach his sister here in the UK could also have been granted asylum using this safe route. Now government and the French authorities must act to ensure no more children are driven into the hands of people smugglers or become so desperate they take terrible risks to reach the safety of the UK.

“We know this is just the start of work to ensure the most vulnerable are protected and are pleased with this positive outcome; it will help us to continue to fight for justice for those who are in most need through no fault of their own.”

We at Help Refugees are so pleased for these families and relieved to know that at last the children have a safe haven. However, from our work in Calais and elsewhere in Europe we are aware of so many more unaccompanied minors who are also entitled to this same right. We know that Citizens UK will be fighting hard to make this happen in the coming weeks and months. Help Refugees will be doing everything we can to help to assist them through our contacts on the ground.

For now we’d like to offer our gratitude to Citizens UK for all their hard work and to congratulate them on such a successful outcome.


Featured image: Field House, London by Smuconlaw on Wikimedia, home of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)

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