On Friday 16th March a private members bill on refugee family reunion, sponsored by Angus Brendan MacNeil MP with cross party support, is being debated in the Commons which would allow unaccompanied refugee children in the United Kingdom the right to sponsor their family members to join them.
But for this change to happen, MPs need to attend the debate and support the bill.
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK said: “It is perverse that vulnerable children, living in the UK as refugees are kept apart from their families by a set of arbitrary rules. A change to this country’s policy has the power to transform and rebuild lives – and sends a message to the world that we are a nation that welcomes and supports those fleeing the horrors of war and persecution.”
Amnesty International UK with the Families Together Campaign are asking the public to call on their MP to attend the debate on 16th March.
Never too old
Research commissioned by the Families Together Campaign in time for Mother’s Day has found that more than 85 percent of Brits will either speak to their mum on Mother’s Day or spend the day with her.
The survey, commissioned to highlight the importance of family and conducted by OnePoll. Amnesty International, found that you’re never too old to need your mum: A third of all adults surveyed said their mum makes them feel safe, and 38 percent rely on her for company.
Thirty percent of Brits over the age of 55 still rely on their mother for emotional support and life advice. A third of over 55’s revealed that they rely on their mum for a sense of belonging.
Nine percent of over 55’s admitted that they still depend on their mum for financial support.
The survey of 2,000 adults was commissioned to highlight a campaign calling for changes to current Home Office rules which currently keep refugee families apart. A child arriving alone is currently being prevented from being reunited even with their closest relatives, leaving them isolated and alone in a new country.
They may have escaped war, persecution and terror and made the frightening journey to the UK, but they are now permanently separated from their parents and siblings with no idea if they will ever see them again.
In not allowing child refugees to sponsor even their closest family members, the UK is among only two EU countries – the other being Denmark – to be out of sync with the rest of the continent.
Over Mother’s Day weekend Amnesty will create an installation at London’s Southbank to raise awareness of what refugee children separated from their families stand to lose. Called “The undeniable wonder of family life” the installation will feature real families spending time in a large Perspex box, sharing the joys of everyday family life: playing games, sharing a takeaway, watching TV.
Amnesty International UK says that “Children need their parents and this is why the rules keeping refugee families apart needs to change”.
More information: Amnesty International UK – (Photos: Pixabay)