Safe passage for refugees

Child refugees demonstration in Parliament Square
Child refugees demonstration in Parliament Square with Lord Alf Dubs (centre left), Barbara Winton (centre right) and council leaders

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has made an impassioned call to the government to allow safe passage for 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees from Europe and regions of conflict.

“Europe is experiencing its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

National Refugee Week event at Hammersmith Town Hall
National Refugee Week event at Hammersmith Town Hall with Lord Dubs (left) and Vanessa Redgrave (right centre)

“Then, as now, we all need to do what we can to help vulnerable child refugees who are fleeing the horrors of war and conflict. In 1938, the UK welcomed 10,000 refugee children. In H&F, we stand ready to play our part once again and welcome more refugee children to the borough.”

Pictures from the Refugee Week event at the Lyric Hammersmith

H&F Council has been working closely with Lord Alf Dubs for several years to bring ‘Dubs children’ (unaccompanied refugee children in Europe) to safety in the UK.

So far, H&F has welcomed 20 Dubs children – the most of any local authority in the UK – which is on top of the 26 refugee children the council has also taken through the government’s voluntary National Transfer Scheme (NTS).

Following a recent visit to what is left of ‘The Jungle’ in Calais by the Cllr Cowan (at his own expense) and Lord Dubs, H&F doubled its target for welcoming Dubs children– from 100 to 200.

H&F is the only council to send social workers into refugee camps to assess their legal rights and assist NGOs on the ground who are seeking to have the UK government follow through on the commitments it made (Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016) to take its fair share of unaccompanied children.

Abdi fled his home in Somali aged 14 to reach safety in Europe. Hear his story.

H&F is also the only council whose social workers are working with an NGO (Safe Passage) in Greece to help bring children to safety in the UK.

Lord Dubs said: “As a Hammersmith resident, I am so proud that H&F is leading the UK’s efforts to welcome unaccompanied refugee children. On the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, which brought me to safety in the UK aged six, I would love to see the UK open its arms once again and offer a home to 10,000 desperate refugee children. We did that at the outbreak of the Second World War and we can do it again.”

Calais jungle on fire
The Calais 'jungle' razed

Alf Dubs arrived in Britain on a train from Prague in 1938 when he was just six years old. He was one of 10,000 Jewish and other children rescued by the Kindertransport in the two years before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Now a member of the House of Lords and life-long advocate for refugees, Lord Alf Dubs is leading efforts to help a new generation of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe and on their arrival to the UK.

Learn more about the Alf Dubs Children’s Fund.

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