Kindertransport nach England (1938-39), Screenshot “Long Way Home”, Mark Jonathan Harris, beschnitten
Rowan Williams, ehemaliger Erzbischof von Canterbury im Guardian: This immigration bill is a chance to stop the death of innocents
Ten thousand children. Hauntingly, just the same figure has surfaced recently in the discussions around tomorrow’s Commons debate on amendments to the immigration bill that calls on the UK to take a lead in protecting unaccompanied minors in Europe. Seventy-six years after Harry Jacobi’s rescue, the figure of 10,000 is the number of children that Europol has identified as having disappeared on our continent in the process of fleeing from danger and suffering elsewhere.
Ten thousand children who will have disappeared into trafficking networks across Europe, forced into drug abuse, child labour, sexual exploitation. Independent medical assessments have found that nearly half of all unaccompanied minors carry a sexually transmitted disease, testament to the terrible dangers they face along the way to Europe. Some will have died. In the past three months, two minors have died trying to reach their family members in the UK from Calais.
These 10,000 are a small percentage of the 95,000 migrant children estimated to be alone in Europe. And the “Dubs amendment” to be debated tomorrow, named for Alf (Lord) Dubs, who has sponsored it and is himself a survivor of the Kindertransport, calls for the resettlement of only 3,000 in the UK. A tiny proportion of those at risk, but it’s a start in securing safe and legal routes out of danger. Anything is better than the appallingly unsafe and illegal routes currently creating such havoc.
One of the great tragedies is that many of these children actually already have a legal right to be reunited with their families in Britain. Citizens UK has identified 157 children who will spend tonight in the freezing mud of Calais who should by right be with their families here in Britain. The charity is able to bring only three or four children over each week, aided by a small army of lawyers; but this rate will see an unacceptable number of minors still stuck out there in a year’s time.
The Dubs amendment is an opportunity for us to live up to the best of our tradition in Britain of reaching out a hand to help the most vulnerable. We are facing potentially the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War.
The Kindertransport in its day received cross-party support; if any legislative proposal deserves cross-party support today, this one does. I hope we shall honour what our parents and grandparents did in the face of that earlier catastrophe and that the amendment will pass, a sign of our willingness to do all we can to stop this ongoing tragedy of the death and degradation of innocents.
Eine kleine Ahnung von den lebenslänglichen Veränderungen, die allein schon Flucht, Trennung von der Familie und Ungewißheit über deren Wohl und Wehe hinterlassen, kann man von den inzwischen alt gewordenen Kindertransport-Kindern erfahren.
Das ist für die geschätzt 95.000 unbegleiteten minderjährigen Flüchtlinge in der EU nicht im mindestens anders, von den verschwundenen geschätzt 10.000 Kindern und Jugendlichen ganz zu schweigen.