Oxfordshire Green Party is supporting the Oxford Stand Up to Racism event Let the Children In, at 5.00pm at Carfax Tower, Oxford on Friday 14th October. This refers to the issue of unaccompanied children at risk in the Calais refugee camp, currently under threat of closure by the end of October with limited security for the future of these children. We welcome suggestions by the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, that some of the children may be taken into the UK but condemn her unwillingness to clarify whether the full 387 with a reasonable case for entry to the UK will all be accepted.
David Williams, Leader of the Green Group on Oxfordshire County Council, says:
“At least 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children had disappeared whilst in transit across Europe, according to Europol, by the early part of this year. Despite the Dubs amendment to the UK Immigration Bill, only the tiny sum of £10m has been allocated to this issue, and it remains unclear how much of this is to bring unaccompanied minors into safety in the UK.”
David Thomas, Green Party councillor (Holywell) on Oxford City Council, says:
“My recent visit to the Calais refugee camp has horrified me and the plight of unprotected children is grievous. France and the UK are rich countries, but very willing it seems to pretend they are not when a tiny number of refugees are not being offered sanctuary. Like refugees from Syria, unaccompanied child refugees should be accepted by both the British and French governments.”
Larry Sanders, Green Party candidate in the Witney parliamentary by-election, adds:
“We can and we must do better. Caring for the most vulnerable who are seeking asylum is well within the means of the rich countries of north west Europe. How is it that so much is spent supporting arms sales to countries throughout the Middle East and so little is spent on the refugees who are produced by these sales?”
Sushila Dhall, former Chair of Oxfordshire Green Party, who works with refugees, notes:
“Working with asylum seekers and refugees over the past 12 years has taught me the inestimable value of meeting vulnerable people's basic needs for shelter, protection and safety as an absolute must, especially for children. When basic needs are not met people lose hope and become dehumanised or suicidal, and are at extreme risk. Imagine if you were forced to send your child across the world hoping he or she would be the only family member to survive; would we not all hope that people would recognise their youth and vulnerability and treat them like the child they are? Ignoring vulnerable people is creating a moral stain on the UK's reputation. We have the resources to care for these children; let's rise to the challenge without delay."