The pledge follows action from Citizens UK to assess 30 children who qualify for resettlement under the Dubs amendment from the Calais 'Jungle' camp, which is due to be demolished on Monday 24 October.
Under the Dubs amendment the UK agreed in May to take “vulnerable unaccompanied child refugees” already in EU before 20 March (date of EU-Turkey deal).
The children who have been assessed and qualify for assistance are fleeing conflict and they are on their own. There are particular concerns for children who are under 13, or a girl, or an orphan.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council who visited the camp this summer, said: “No parent would want their child to live in a place like the Jungle. We can’t simply standby and turn our backs on the plight of these children on our doorstep; instead we must open our arms to them. We are ready to do our bit in Ealing and I call on the government to step up, do the right thing, and provide the safe haven these children so desperately need.”
In preparation for the children’s arrival the council has also offered to provide a senior member of staff to act as liaison with the Home Office on behalf of London boroughs as well as offering six staff members to support Croydon staff to manage the pressure of this volume of assessments. The council is also considering options to see if the borough could host a reception centre within the borough.
The commitment follows the council’s motion passed at full council on 12 October backing a campaign by the civil liberties organisation Liberty and Help Refugees to bring vulnerable lone children from inhumane camps in Europe to safety in the UK. The pledge calls on central government to deliver funding to ensure authorities across the country can adequately meet the needs of asylum-seeking children placed in their care.
The council has also welcomed children under the Dublin 3 legislation who are to be united with family members in the UK and is helping to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place for their care.
Councillor Julian Bell visited the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp on the 18 August and his experience is captured in this video.