LETTER: Refugee children

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Your views.

I recently met a mother who was with her three year old son and seven month baby girl.

We spoke parent-to-parent about the concerns we share and how we want the best for our children.

There was just one, very significant difference: until very recently, the family had been living in a refugee camp in Lebanon after their Damascus neighbourhood was flattened in a bombing raid.

So many families who once had a normal life – getting up, going to work, spending time with friends - are being forced to flee their homes, taking on dangerous journeys in the hope of a safe and better life. Tragically, in 2015 close to 3,000 people, including children, died trying to reach Europe.

In January 2014, two and a half years ago, the Government announced it would start to take in refugees from Syria, albeit a very small number. Since then politicians have been vague about who and how many refugees the UK will take. The Government still has not outlined a plan of how people will actually be supported when they arrive.

Barnardo’s said back in September that the Government must urgently prioritise specialist, tailored, care for refugee children, and put in place a strategic resettlement plan for the assessment and support of all Syrian refugees taken in by the UK. We have seen no evidence that any of this has been done.

As Refugee Week comes to an end, we are calling on Government to set out how it will help these children, whose unique circumstances put them so desperately in need.

Javed Khan

Chief executive, Barnardo’s


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