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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Governments failing lone child refugees, say Lords

Jean in Calais

26th July 2016

* Jean Lambert MEP welcomes House of Lords report she gave evidence to

Unaccompanied migrant children face squalor, destitution and desperation across the EU, finds a report published today by a House of Lords committee.

The committee of peers has spent months investigating the conditions thousands of lone children are living in across Europe, including children in camps in Northern France who are trying to be reunited with family in Britain.

It has concluded that governments, including the UK, are fundamentally failing to comply with their obligations under EU and international law.

Jean gave evidence to the committee.

Welcoming the report today Jean, who is Green MEP for London and Greens’ migration spokesperson, said: “This unreserved criticism from the House of Lords is appropriate – governments are failing to help many vulnerable children living in desperate situations. It’s shocking.

“Support must be provided to unaccompanied children from the moment they arrive, throughout the whole asylum process to ensure all their rights are upheld, and afterwards once their cases are concluded.

“The UK is not yet acting fully on its responsibilities for children, such as those at Calais. It knows what needs to be done, it just needs to do it. There are lone children in France who have a legal right to come to Britain, the Home Office knows this yet these vulnerable youngsters are still in the camps facing horrific living conditions and the danger of exploitation, violence and forced labour. The UK government cannot allow this to continue, and it must make sure local councils have resources to welcome these children and other refugees who need our help.

“I hope this will be the year the government takes its responsibilities, and I hope this Lords’ report will push them to do that.”

Jean recently spoke at a UNICEF event in the European Parliament on the terrible dangers faced by unaccompanied children in camps in northern France. You can read her speech here.