Mediterranean Sea: Refugees

Home Office written question – answered on 21st July 2015.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Labour, Manchester, Withington

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking (a) to ensure that children who have migrated across the Mediterranean are adequately protected when they arrive in Europe and (b) in relocating highly vulnerable, unaccompanied children to the UK.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

The protection of unaccompanied children is the responsibility of the country in which they are located, which will often be Italy where they have crossed the Mediterranean.

The EU Dublin Regulation includes family unity provisions which may enable an asylum seeker to come to the UK if they have close family members legally residing here. There are also provisions under our family reunification policy to enable this to take place. In other cases we do not believe that relocation of illegal migrants is the answer.

It simply moves the problem from one country to another, rather than dealing with it at source and in the case of children would add unnecessary further disruption to already vulnerable cases.

Instead, we should continue to focus on practical co-operation to assist those frontline Member States under pressure and to deal with the human traffickers who are exploiting these vulnerable migrants.

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