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UK scrapping resettlement program for child refugees

The government of UK Prime Minister Theresa May is scrapping a scheme to resettle child refugees, withdrawing a pledge to let in thousands of the vulnerable children.

UK immigration secretary Robert Goodwill said Wednesday that London was ending the so-called “Dubs” program this March, adding that the country was feeling “proud” after resettling 350 children.

Introduced by Labour peer Lord Alfred Dubs in May last year, the program was an amendment to the country’s Immigration Bill that required then Prime Minister David Cameron to reportedly accept 3,000 children from North Africa and Middle East.

Surviving deadly conflicts and braving what London called back then a “lethal” journey, the unaccompanied children were registered in Greece, Italy or France.

A displaced Syrian girl walks at a refugee camp in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, February 8, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

In reality, however, , only about 200 children have entered the UK after the plan took effect in October. Another 150 are expected to enter the country before the scheme ends.

“[The] UK has a proud history of providing protection for those in need, including some of the most vulnerable children affected by the migration crisis,” Goodwill said.

“The government’s strategy is to support international efforts to find a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the refugee crisis; we must deal with its root causes, as well as respond to the consequences,” he added.

Dubs lashes out at May

The decision to end the program draw fire from Dubs, who himself came to Britain on the Kindertransport program for Jewish children.

He called the act “shameful” and asked May in a letter to not “shut the door” on the vulnerable kids.

Lord Alfred Dubs (Photo by AFP)

“During the Kindertransport, Sir Nicky Winton rescued 669 children from Nazi persecution virtually singlehandedly,” said Dubs. “I was one of those lucky ones. It would be a terrible betrayal of his legacy if as a country we were unable to do more than this to help a new generation of refugees.”

Originally, the campaign for the Dubs amendment called on the British government to help 3,000 of the estimated 90,000 lone child refugees who had arrived in Europe in 2015, amid the largest refugee crises since Second World War.

Across the world, many observers blame the interventionist policies of Western powers on a surge in terrorism and war in North Africa and the Middle East that have forced people to flee their homes.

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