Around the world, children who have fled warfare and disaster are facing prejudice, suspicion and even imprisonment as they search for a safe place to call home. Here in the UK, unfair immigration laws are denying many the chance to grow up with the love and protection of their families.
These children have suffered enough. Many are already traumatised - they have witnessed terrible atrocities and disasters, faced a gruelling and dangerous journey over hundreds of miles to reach safety, and felt the loss of everything that is familiar and comforting to them, their homes, friends, schools and families. It is inexcusable to add to their burden by forcing them to grow up in care when they could be raised by people that love them.
We are fighting to change the way child refugees are perceived and treated – by raising awareness and pressuring the Government to treat children with compassion and respect, whatever their migrant status. Every child deserves the chance to grow up in a caring and supportive family environment, free from the dangers of violence, poverty, environmental disaster and disease. So we are fighting for the rights of refugee children to a safe and permanent home with their families, an end to the detention of child refugees, and for children to be better protected along the world’s key migrant routes.
Here in the UK we have been urging MPs to sign an early day motion in Parliament calling on the Government to continue welcoming child refugees in the UK – and our call is being heard. More than 70 MPs from across the political spectrum have so far put their names to the motion.
We are also part of a coalition of NGOs campaigning in support of the refugee family reunion bills as they make their way through the Houses of Commons and Lords. If successful, these bills would bring refugee children one step closer to being reunited with their families.
Progress is being made - 129 MPs supported the Refugee Family Reunion Bill in its second reading in March. But there remains a long way to go to ensure that family reunion becomes UK law, and we need your help to keep up the pressure.
In the lead up to Refugee Week we are asking you to Walk a Mile in the shoes of a child refugee and consider what it is like to be a child fleeing for your life. Please join our fight to uphold the rights of some of the world’s most at-risk children. Together, we can be a force for change.