The Government has ended a scheme to let unaccompanied migrant children enter the UK. The move has been widely criticised.
What is the scheme?
The scheme was designed to require the UK to take in 3,000 children who have been separated from their families. It was proposed last year by Lord Dubs in the House of Lords during discussions about a new immigration law. We posted this when the scheme was announced.
At the time, the Government refused to commit to a specific number of children who would be allowed to enter the UK. It now says that by the end of March this year, when the scheme will end, 350 children will have entered under the scheme and that is enough.
Who is Lord Dubs?
The scheme was nicknamed the ‘Dubs Amendment,’ because it was Lord Dubs who designed it. Lord Dubs is a former child refugee who came to the UK during the Second World War seeking refuge from persecution in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. See here for more information about Lord Dubs.
Why is the scheme coming to an end?
The Government says it is worried that the scheme is encouraging child traffickers. MPs, charities and others have criticised the decision as a betrayal of the most vulnerable in society. See more news coverage of this criticism here.
What does this mean for human rights?
The United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the Geneva Convention) recognises the right to seek asylum from persecution. It works to ensure that those fleeing persecution enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms. While there appears to be no provision in the European Convention on Human Rights specifically protecting asylum seekers, several of its articles do in fact provide some protection for asylum-seekers and refugees. See our post here for information about how human rights law protects people seeking refuge.
For more plain English information on why this announcement matters, see:
- Infographic: What Human Rights Do For Those Seeking Refuge here
- News: David Cameron Is Throwing A “Lifeline” For Refugee Children. Is This A Human Rights Issue? here
- Feature: How Four Young Syrian Refugees Escaped The Calais Jungle here
- Opinion: Evil Progresses Cunningly. Why Human Rights Matter On Holocaust Memorial Day here
Image of Lord Dubs © Houses of the Oireachtas courtesy of Creative Commons Attribution Licence 2.0 Generic. All other images courtesy of Pixabay