17th October 2016

Anne Longfield comments on the arrival of children from Calais refugee camp to the UK

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said:

“As the camp’s closure looms, I am relieved that the first children are starting to come to the UK under fast track arrangements, and can now start recovering from their ordeals. I welcome the Government’s commitment to protect these children and urgent efforts must continue to get all those children with family in the UK transferred. Some children are also likely to be able to come to the UK under Lord Dubs’ amendment when it is in their best interests. For those arriving, plans must be in place to ensure they are supported to get over their traumatic experiences, into schools and that they get any health treatment needed.

“This is a huge logistical undertaking with the clock ticking towards the closure of the camp by French authorities next week. Apart from those with rights to come to the UK there are several hundred other children in the camp, the vast majority on their own. The French authorities must ensure the safety of these children, registering them and ensuring they have proper accommodation before any clearance operation begins.

“The last time a section of the camp was cleared around 130 children went missing, with it feared some fell into the hands of traffickers. There must not be a repeat of this.”

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