Shamima and Jarrah Begum - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:13 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development) 5:13 pm, 11th March 2019

My Lords, we must make no mistake; the noble Baroness talked about making the situation worse, but it is hard to think how it could be any worse. As I said to the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, two-thirds of the people who die in the camps are children under the age of five.

On people who hold another nationality, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has been absolutely clear that he will not deprive someone of their citizenship unless they possess the citizenship of another country.

On the interests of the child, the Home Secretary said that he took the decision based on all the facts of the case, which included the interests of the child. It would be very difficult to establish how one could take a child out of Syria, when it would be wrong to send British officials there to remove the child. The noble Baroness talked about safeguarding. Speaking of “safeguarding” in Syria seems to be a contradiction in terms: any parent who takes their child to Syria puts not only themselves beyond help but their child too.