Asylum: Children

Home Office written question – answered on 2nd November 2015.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have about the claim by the government of Italy that, of the 13,026 children who arrived unaccompanied in Italy in 2014, 3,707 disappeared after arriving; what assessment they have made of where those children are; and what consideration they are giving to the request of Save the Children that the United Kingdom should provide refuge for 3,000 unaccompanied children.

Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with other European Union member states about children who have arrived in Europe unaccompanied or separated from family members; what assessment they have made of the vulnerability of such children; and what they are doing to ensure that those children are prioritised for security and shelter.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Minister of State, Home Department

The UK recognises the need to provide protection to those fleeing persecution. However, it is an accepted principle that asylum seekers should seek protection in the first safe country they reach. In line with their international obligations, EU Member States have a responsibility to register and process all asylum claims made on their territory, including those made by unaccompanied children. This extends to providing adequate support and accommodation.

The Government has been consistently clear that we do not agree with the relocation of asylum seekers between Member States. We believe it will act as a pull factor, and that it does not address the cause of the problem but simply moves it around the EU. Making an exception for children makes little sense as they are on the territory of Member States who have duties to protect and support them.

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