Norwich councillors pledge support for refugee children

November 30, 2016 11:01 AM

Syrian children

Liberal Democrat councillors on Norwich City Council have secured unanimous cross-party backing for a motion calling on the government to honour - without delay - its commitment to unaccompanied refugee children and to ensure that local councils are fully funded to provide the necessary services and support to these vulnerable youngsters.

The motion passed at a meeting of the council last night (Tuesday 29 November) comes on the back of continued refugee movement across Europe, slow progress from the UK government and a campaign from Liberty to raise awarenesses.

Commenting, Cllr James Wright, Lib Dem Group Leader said, "This motion provides an opportunity for us to make a political statement by supporting Liberty's Protect Refugee Children campaign for central government to honour its commitment without delay, something that I know many individual members of the council have already done.

He added, "I would like to acknowledge those citizens in Norwich who are joining the various groups that are providing support to refugees, demonstrating once again that Norwich is a welcoming and generous city. We know we are doing the right thing. We now need the government's full support to help us deliver."

The full wording of the motion

The refugee crisis has continued over the summer including refugees from Syria but also from other countries, with an estimated 88,000 unaccompanied children believed to be travelling through continental Europe, vulnerable to falling prey to exploitation and abuse.

Council RESOLVES to:

1) welcome the central government's commitment in the Immigration Act 2016 to create a resettlement scheme to bring unaccompanied refugee children from continental Europe to safety in the UK, but notes the very slow progress that has been made in implementing a scheme to cater for this highly vulnerable group.

2) endorse Liberty's "statement of support" pressuring central government to honour its commitment without delay and also call on council members to pledge their individual support via Liberty's website www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/campaigning/protect-refugee-children

3) recognise the important role that the residents of Norwich have been playing in caring for children and their families seeking sanctuary.

4) urge central government, by asking group leaders to write to appropriate ministers, to work closely with local government to ensure that councils have the funding and support to build the essential regional infrastructure necessary to secure the placement and support of children across the country, especially in relation to housing provision, educational needs, and English language provision, and help us build them a brighter, safer future.