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'Child refugees need your support'

Those who believe the UK should take in unaccompanied children stranded in Europe are being encouraged to make their voices heard ahead of a crucial Commons vote

On Monday last week a cross-party amendment to the immigration bill that would have seen the UK accept 3,000 child refugees was narrowly defeated by 294 votes to 276. A small number of Conservaitve MPs voted against the Government.

 

That amendment has been revised to remove the commitment to take 3000 children, instead putting the decision on numbers in the hands of the government and local authorities. The amendment was passed in the House of Lords on Tuesday (with an increased majority) and will now come back to the House of Commons next Monday (9 May).
 
With commentators noting that if just 10 of the MPs who voted against the amendment had changed their mind the amendment would have been carried, supporters are being asked to raise their voices.
 
The charity Help Refugees is encouraging supporters to write, email, tweet your MP and ask them to show compassion for the children alone in Europe, having fled war and terror in search of safety.

‘Remind them that Britain should not turn their backs on these children and urge them to be on the right side of history by voting in favour of the revised Dubs Amendment,’ it stated.

The following website enables people to write to their MPs: https://www.writetothem.com/
 
There are also two petitions supporters are being encouraged to sign:
 
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/128833
 
https://www.change.org/p/government-save-lone-child-refugees-in-europe
 
Help Refugees added there are 95,000 unaccompanied minors registered in the EU. Europol have already stated that 10,000 are missing.

'Not helping these children leaves them vulnerable to sexual exploitation, trafficking and neglect in inhumane living conditions,' it stated.


Following the initial vote Baptist minister Juliet Kilpin wondered what impact children writing to MPs who had voted with the Government would have. Her post was widely shared:

 

Craig Gardiner, a tutor at South Wales Baptist College, was one of many to respond. His daughter Niamh, eight, wrote to local MP Jo Stevens. The story was subsequently picked up by the Huffington Post.

Ms Stevens told HuffPost UK: 'Niamh and Euan’s letter to me is the perfect example of that old saying, ‘out of the mouths of babes.’

'Their simple, heartfelt message to the Prime Minister and Cardiff’s only Conservative MP that the Government should offer sanctuary to a small number of refugee children, sums up wider public opinion that he and the vast majority of Tory MPs have got this so badly wrong.'

Update: On Wednesday (4 May) Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK will take in more unaccompanied Syrian refugee children from Europe, but did not commit to a specific figure


 
Baptist Times, 29/04/2016
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