21 April 2016
Today the UK government announced it is to take in up to 3,000 more refugees from war-torn Syria by 2020. The majority of these will be vulnerable children.
The government called the move the "largest resettlement programme for children in the world".
This is in addition to the UK prime minister's pledge to take 20,000 refugees by 2020.
The scheme is for unaccompanied children as well as those considered at risk of abuse and exploitation.
Responding to the announcement Alex Fraser, director of refugee support at the British Red Cross said:
"The Red Cross welcomes the announcement by the UK Government of further resettlement places for children at risk, giving a place of safety to some of the most vulnerable of those caught in this crisis.
“No child should have to risk their life to escape conflict or insecurity and this is an example of the type of safe and legal routes which are so desperately needed.
“We are also committed to continuing to work with the UK government, and other European governments, in ensuring more refugees can use the Dublin system to reunite with their families within Europe.”
The Dublin Regulation is an EU law that sets out member states’ responsibilities around asylum seeker applications. Family unity takes precedence over other criteria (e.g. through which country someone first entered the EU) when deciding which member state is responsible for processing an asylum claim.
Alex said: “This system should be fully utilised, including for parents with young children stuck in European camps.
Go further and faster
"However, we urge the UK government to go further and faster in supporting refugees and reuniting refugee families torn apart by conflict, including the many thousands of children in Europe.
“That must include expanding family reunion criteria so parents are not separated from their children.
“Right now the rules remain too inflexible and can prolong division instead of prioritising family unity, leaving desperate people with little option but to undertake dangerous journeys to try and reunite with their families.”
The British Red Cross is one of the UK’s largest providers of support to refugees and asylum seekers. We work with unaccompanied minors in London, Kent and Hampshire, the main points of entry to the UK.
The Red Cross is campaigning to change policies in the UK and the wider EU to expand safe and legal routes – starting with refugee family reunion.