1000s of unaccompanied refugee children still in Europe, a new “KinderTransport” is needed

Großbritannien: Kinder polnischer Juden aus dem Gebiet zwischen Deutschland und Polen bei Ihrer Ankunft mit der "Warschau" in London. Aufn. Februar 1939

Unaccompanied refugee Jewish children arriving London, February 1939

There are around 1500 unaccompanied refugee children still in Calais, due to what can only be drscribed as the bureaucratic incompetence of the French and British governments. Now the daughter of Sir Nicholas Winton, who died in 2015 and who organised the famous Kindertransport in 1939 to save hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazi concentration camps, has appealed for a similar initiative to rescue those children still stuck in the French port. But there are tens of thousands more unaccompanied refugee children scattered across Europe. Allowing this crisis to worsen is nothing else but a crime of mega proportions.

In an open letter sent to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Barbara Winton says:

Those who have travelled across Europe to Calais, to escape the life-threatening dangers of their home country, are hoping desperately to find the sanctuary their parents dared to believe Britain would once again offer… I believe that the most appropriate way of honouring his [Sir Nicholas’] memory would be to show the same concern and compassion he did then, for those in danger and in need now.

Accompanying the letter are two statements by Eve Leadbeater and Dr Lisa Midwinter, both of whom as children were rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton via the original Kindertransport. Ms. Leadbetter commented:

Today, the last-minute scramble to organise the transfer of some of the Calais children and the animosity against immigrants that has increased since the referendum have been shocking. In 2016, do we live in the same country that welcomed me in 1939?

Fair share of refugees?

Some unaccompanied refugee children have already arrived in north Devon, where locals and the Council there are setting an excellent example to local authorities elsewhere in the UK.

But this is only a beginning. Hundreds more unaccompanied refugee children need to be transported across the Channel quickly and helped to join their families or be re-settled. And, of course, there are thousands more unaccompanied refugee children – estimated at 90,000 – across Europe, let alone many more adult refugees.

According to a Eurostat report (page 15) more than 96,000 unaccompanied child refugees applied for asylum in 2015 alone. Britain now needs to step up and take in many hundreds, if not thousands more. It’s a matter of compassion – something the far-right and the xenophobes know nothing about.

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Unaccompanied refugee children at Calais, sleeping rough

Statement from Refugee Youth Service

Meanwhile, the following is a statemernt issued by the Refugee Youth Service on Thursday 27 November 2016:

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