Medway Council urged to do more to help refugees #refugeeswelcome

Please see below a recent press release. An article based on this was published in the Kent Today here.

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Medway Greens have reinstated their call for Medway Council to do more to help refugees in light of a House of Lords report published today [1].

A committee of House of Lords 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.

The report criticises the British Government and other governments for “fundamentally” failing to fulfill their obligations under EU and international law to receive and protect children “in a manner that recognises their specific vulnerability”. [2]

Evidence also suggests a lack of “burden-sharing” between UK local authorities, with one council caring for 412 unaccompanied children, while many others had none. [2]

Last week the Conservative group on Medway Council opposed a motion calling on the Council to offer support to young refugees.

The motion submitted by Labour Councillor Johnson called on the Council to “undertake to engage in constructive dialogue with community groups, voluntary agencies, statutory bodies, educational institutions and other interested parties to develop support networks and opportunities for integration”.

Steve Dyke, Medway Green Party Officer says:
“Medway Greens have long called for Medway Council to do its bit in supporting refugees and today’s report further highlights the need for an adequate response. It is shameful that the Tory contingent of Medway Council appears unwilling to even explore options.

While it is understandable that council funds are limited, it is the Tory Government that has caused funding difficulties with its austerity driven agenda. It is up to our Tory-led Council and Tory MPs to be at the forefront of ensuring that the Government meets its obligations by seeking additional funding”.
Welcoming the House of Lords report, Jean Lambert, who is the Green Party migration spokesperson, said:

“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.”

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