For the past year we have been working closely with Lord Alf Dubs on the Dubs Amendment, a change in the UK immigration bill to offer unaccompanied refugee children safe haven here in the UK. However, to date only 6 children have been brought to the UK for safe haven, and all of these under family reunion laws (and not under the Dubs Amendment, which is supposed to be for those most vulnerable of children with no family in the UK)
Last week Lord Alf Dubs (who himself was brought to Britain as a child refugee in 1939 as part of Kindertransport) travelled to Greece with our team and Safe Passage. Together we met with a series of government officials to discuss the implementation of the Dubs Amendment, as well as continuing to speed up Dublin III, a piece of legislation ensuring those with family members in European states can be reunited.
Lord Dubs has visited the refugee camps in Greece, meeting many of the children there. Together we also managed to lift spirits by travelling to Thessaloniki’s Astrokosmos fair to present a belated Christmas for 1,300 Syrian refugee children under the age of 12.
The children were able to spend time on fairground rides, ice-skating, driving dodgems and even meet with Father Christmas to receive a gift their parents had specially chosen for them.
Small rest-bites like this are a blessing for children whose daily lives are lived in cold camps, with very little excitement aside from the arrival of their next meal. The Guardian reported their cries of “This is for all of us? We can go everywhere?”
We will continue to work alongside Lord Alf Dubs and Safe Passage to ensure unaccompanied refugee children bests needs are assessed and the most vulnerable brought to the UK under Dubs Amendment.
To read more about this joyous day read the Guardian’s article.