Northampton 'Town of Sanctuary' calls for some 300 asylum-seeking children in county to be reunited with their families

A Northampton refugee support group is calling on the UK Government to change the rules around reuniting asylum-seeking families for the sake of 300 children in the county.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 9:00 pm
Northamptonshire reportedly has 300 refugee children alone. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Northamptonshire reportedly has 300 refugee children alone. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

'Northampton Town of Sanctuary' - part of the Families Together coalition campaigning for UK asylum-seeking families - says the new UK Government is blocking child refugees in the UK from being reunited with their families.

It is pointing to a new report by Amnesty International UK, Refugee Council and Save The Children that states the UK Government is "directly at odds" with national and international law and is preventing children from being joined by their parents, brothers or sisters.

In 2018, 1,072 unaccompanied children were recognised as refugees in their own right in the UK.

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But while UK laws allow for adult refugees to bring their children to the UK by 'sponsoring' them, refugee children cannot bring their parents and siblings by the same system.

Asylum-seeking children are then put in the care of local authorities rather than their own families - an action the report has called "deliberate and destructive".

A petition by Amnesty International urging the Home Secretary to change the rules currently has over 40,000 signatures.

Danielle Stone, secretary of Northampton Town of Sanctuary and leader of the Labour party for Northampton, said: "My group really welcomes this report.

"We have over 300 asylum seeking children and young people in our county, most of whom arrive age 15 or 16 and most of whom become recognised as refugees. They have dealt with unimaginable horrors in their home country and on their journey to safety.

"They need their families. They need their mums, their dads, their siblings. We must help them be reunited with family. To do this will take pressure off services that are already strapped for cash and will ensure these brave and resilient young people live a good and fulfilling life”.