Author: LAMIAT SABIN
THE charity Help Refugees scored a partial victory in the Court of Appeal against the Home Office today over its handling of unaccompanied child refugees.
The judges said that a number of child asylum-seekers assessed for transfer to Britain under an amendment moved by Lord Alf Dubs, had been given “patently inadequate” reasons for being refused entry.
But, despite the ruling, the number of places for unaccompanied child refugees in Britain will remain capped at 480.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott welcomed the ruling, pledging that the next Labour government would scrap the cap altogether.
She said: “By refusing to implement the Dubs amendment, the Tories have cruelly failed to meet their moral and legal obligations to vulnerable child refugees.
“Labour in government will meet those obligations to unaccompanied children and implement the Dubs amendment in full, as members of Parliament intended.”
The Dubs amendment, mindful of the grim circumstances for young asylum-seekers in migrant camps across the Channel, was made to the 2016 Immigration Act. It required the home secretary from May last year to arrange relocation of “a specified number” of vulnerable refugee children from Europe to Britain based on feedback from local authorities.
The government increased the number of children to be relocated under the scheme from 350 to 480 in February 2017.
Lord Alf Dubs said: “For two years, we have fought tooth and nail for the rights of these vulnerable children.
“Today, I’m relieved to say that it was worth it.
“Every unaccompanied child we have turned away deserves an explanation and a chance to appeal the decision and we’re delighted the courts have agreed with us on that.
“The decision gives some hope to thousands of vulnerable child refugees in Europe.”
But the appeal judges said that the charity had failed to convince them that the government’s consultation with local authorities was defective.
Help Refugees sought orders last November to force then home secretary Amber Rudd to abandon the cap and reopen the consultation so consideration could be given to allowing more children in.
But High Court judges said they were not persuaded of the case and their decision was upheld today by the Court of Appeal, with Lord Justice Hickinbottom ruling the consultation was not unlawful.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We will continue to work closely with participating states, local authorities and other partners to relocate eligible children here quickly and safely.”