British and French government failures left many children at risk

The Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) has called on the government to lift the arbitrary cut-off date for applications from unaccompanied children to come to the UK and increase the number of children it will accept.

The BHRC also called for authorities to implement proper procedures for evaluating child refugee applications, including providing access to legal advice and written reasoning for refusals.

The demands came in a critical report documenting the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp last October and subsequent failures by French and UK authorities to protect and process the estimated 1,000 unaccompanied minors living in the camp.

The report, Breakdown: the dismantling of theCalais ‘Jungle’ and of the promises to its unaccompanied children, concluded that the authorities failed to take effective steps to safeguard the welfare and safety of unaccompanied children, leaving many at risk.

Children, it said, were subjected to a chaotic and unlawful age verification and registration process, based in some cases on physical appearance alone, and given inadequate information about the process for admitting unaccompanied children into the UK under the Dubs Amendment

BHRC Chair, Kirsty Brimelow QC, said: ‘The unaccompanied children of Calais have faced horror, both in their home countries and in France, in “the Jungle” camp. Nearly a year later, the horror continues as children remain vulnerable to trafficking, abuse, starvation and disease.’

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