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Round table discussion led by the VOICES Network, supported by the British Red Cross

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

Report from Mohammad Yasin MP:

Today, I attended a round table discussion led by the VOICES Network, supported by the British Red Cross - a nationwide association of people with refugee backgrounds providing a platform on which to share the challenges they face and raise those issues with decision-makers.

Every child should be able to live safely with their loved ones, but conflict and persecution has forced some to flee their homes and leave their families behind. For the few who find a place of safety in the UK, shameful and unnecessary rules mean they are cut off from a life with their parents or siblings. These children are recognised as refugees. Yet unlike adults, they are denied the right to be joined by their closest family members.

Just last week, the Commons rejected an attempt by Labour to reinstate child refugee protection rights in the Brexit bill - which would have guaranteed the right of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with family living in the UK after Brexit.

The UK’s family reunion policy harms child refugees and directly contradicts human rights law.

The truth is that the UK receives only a tiny fraction of the world’s refugees. In 2018, 1,072 unaccompanied children were recognised as refugees in their own right in the UK. The vast majority of unaccompanied children find refuge in neighbouring countries.

But if a child does seek asylum here, they should be granted the same rights as adults to be reunited with close family. Children are vulnerable people and their welfare should come first – no matter where they come from.

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