Merton pledges to provide more sanctuary for vulnerable child refugees

Merton Council is to provide a future for two lone children to end their ordeal in refugee camps and has pledged to provide sanctuary for 50 unaccompanied child refugees, for a planned humanitarian scheme.

The council is backing the Our Turn Campaign, run by, independent charity Safe Passage, which is working to end the tragedy of children trapped in appalling and dangerous refugee camps across Europe.  Under a new proposed resettlement plan, Merton Council, could accommodate 50 unaccompanied children over 10 years, subject Government funding.

In response to a specific request made by Safe Passage, Merton Council has also pledged to immediately welcome two children under Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, known as ‘the Dubs amendment’, legislation which provides for unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe to be relocated to the United Kingdom.  The Council made the pledges at the South London Citizens Accountability Assembly held in Southwark Cathedral on Tuesday.

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Kelly Braund, said: “We are delighted to announce that Merton Council has pledged to provide safe homes for 50 children as part of Safe Passage’s Our Turn campaign. We passionately believe every child deserves to have the chance to build a bright future and so we are keen to do our part to make that a reality.  We are 100 per cent behind Safe Passage’s tireless work to secure safe, legal routes for some of the most vulnerable youngsters trapped in appalling and dangerous conditions in refugee camps. No child should have to suffer in the pursuit of sanctuary in the UK. The vital work of Safe Passage needs to expand if all of the children who are eligible for resettlement are to reach safety.”

Eleanor Harrison OBE, the Interim Chief Executive Officer at Safe Passage, said; “We are delighted that Merton Council will soon be welcoming two refugee children, who are waiting to travel to the UK from Europe under the Dubs resettlement scheme. After years in limbo, these children will finally be able to start rebuilding their childhoods in safety, as part of the Merton community.”

EDITORS NOTE:  Safe Passage is an independent charity that combines strategic litigation, case work, community organising and advocacy to open safe, legal routes for children and young people those seeking sanctuary.   For more information see www.safepassage.org.ukontinue