Not the Spring Conference – F16: Welcoming Child Refugees

So, as promised, here is one of the policy motions scheduled to have been debated in York over the weekend, something that probably isn’t that controversial in Liberal Democrat circles, but I never fail to be surprised by Liberal Democrats, so let’s see what comes in…

Conference believes that:

  • Child refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and separated from their families are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. We must do all we can to protect them.
  • The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative Government is turning its back on child refugees and failing to live up to our obligations to them.
  • Providing refugees with safe and legal routes to sanctuary in the UK is the best way to combat people smuggling and human trafficking, and to prevent people from making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel.

Conference notes with dismay that:

  • The Conservative Government has still not fulfilled its requirement under Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (the “Dubs Amendment”) to resettle 480 unaccompanied child refugees from elsewhere in Europe as soon as possible.
  • In 2016, the Government committed to resettle 3,000 refugees in the UK under the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme by 2020, but only 1,712 people had been resettled under the scheme as of the end of September 2019, including just 986 children.
  • The Conservative Government has chosen to withdraw the UK from the Dublin System, which enables people applying for asylum in the EU – including unaccompanied children – to be reunited with their family members in another member state.
  • Unlike most EU countries, the UK does not allow unaccompanied child refugees to sponsor family members to join them, and the Conservative Government has refused to support the Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill – tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hamwee – which would rectify that.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  • Urgently fulfil its requirement under the Dubs Amendment to resettle 480 unaccompanied child refugees from elsewhere in Europe.
  • Fulfil its commitment to resettle 3,000 people under the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme by the end of 2020.
  • Maintain rights for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Europe to be reunited with family members in the UK.
  • Support Baroness Hamwee’s Bill to expand family reunion rights so that unaccompanied child refugees in the UK can sponsor close family members to join them.
  • Ensure that all unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are provided with specialist legal advice.
  • Resettle 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees from elsewhere in Europe over the next ten years.

Don’t hesitate to send in your responses as, as in real life, you would be responding to the motion, and not the previous contributions. I’ll queue them up, and see where we get…

Remember, you’d only get one go in any debate, and you’d have a time limit – so keep your comments to 300 words, please…

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