Reaction to closure of Lord Dubs unaccompanied child refugee scheme

200 child refugees have been brought to the UK under the ‘Dubs Scheme’. However, this week the UK government have announced that the scheme that was set up to help some of the estimated 90,000 unaccompanied migrant children across Europe will close once a further 150 children have been settled in the UK. Originally, the scheme was expected to resettle 3,000 unaccompanied children from Syria who had travelled to Europe.

The BBC report the UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd explaining the change:

“I am clear that when working with my French counterparts they do not want us to indefinitely continue to accept children under the Dubs amendment because they specify, and I agree with them, that it acts as a draw.”

She added: “It acts as a pull. It encourages the people traffickers.”

Calling the decision “shameful”, Labour MP and chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Yvette Cooper, said that “thousands of child refugees were languishing in camps in Greece and Italy, desperate for help and at risk of abuse, exploitation and modern slavery” and said that “Britain can do better than this”.

A legal challenge to the government’s handling of the scheme is expected to proceed on Friday.

In an open letter circulated by Citizens UK, Lord Alf Dubs spoke out against the decision to prematurely stop the scheme.

“Today Theresa May put Britain on the wrong side of history. To our country’s shame, she has decided to shut down the Dubs Scheme, which promised child refugees a safe future in the UK. We fought tooth and nail to win this last year. I won’t let it slip away.”

The letter encourages people to sign a petition calling on the UK prime minister Theresa May not to abandon the Dubs Scheme for refugee children.

“The Dubs Amendment was a promise to us – to honour our proud British tradition of welcoming those most in need. I saw that compassion and courage in Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued me as a child from the Nazi regime, along with 669 Jewish children. Acts of heroism like this define our country. They characterise the values we hold dear. Now we are faced with another such turning point in our nation’s history.”

He asked:

“Will we choose to follow Trump, or to honour our tradition of generosity, compassion and courage?”

Lord Dubs suggests a striking choice before signing off by saying:

“We’ve won before. We will win again.”