THIS Is What You Can Do Now To Help Child Refugees

Photo: Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
You'd be forgiven for having missed an important piece of news this week. Yesterday, the government quietly announced that it would stop letting lone child refugees find a safe haven in the UK. Did you miss that one? We almost did.

Just 350 refugee children have been allowed into the country from Europe under the Dubs amendment, designed by peer and former refugee Lord Dubs, after it was accepted last year, while others have arrived under a separate international programme. Lord Dubs's aim for the law was to help 3,000 of Europe's 90,000 lone child refugees who arrived on the continent in 2015.

But the Home Office has poured cold water on that goal, saying it would stop taking in children via the Dubs amendment at the end of March, the BBC reported. Campaigners, charities and Lord Dubs himself have condemned the move.

Lord Dubs said "Britain has a proud history of welcoming refugees" and that it is "shameful" to be following Donald Trump's example of banning refugees from entering the country, just months after the route for helping children was established.

He said: "During the Kindertransport, Sir Nicky Winton rescued 669 children from Nazi persecution virtually single-handedly. 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 child refugees," the BBC reported.

Meanwhile Oxfam said it was "shocked and disappointed" by the news. Maya Mailer, the charity's head of humanitarian policy, accused the government of shirking its responsibilities and said its decision "flies in the face of the huge public support for the Dubs amendment".

In light of the government's decision to turns its back on thousands of vulnerable children in this way, what can we, as individuals, do to help them?

Sign a petition

Clicktivism gets a bad rap, but often it does produce real-world results. Take the recent online anti-Trump petition that triggered a debate in Parliament about the US president's state visit to the UK. Sign Lord Dubs's petition urging the prime minister not to abandon her commitment to help refugee children. "Thousands of children we promised to help are still in danger. Britain is better than this," Dubs writes.

Campaign group Stand Up To Racism has also created a petition urging the government to fulfil its promise. Signing both can't hurt.

Write to the Home Secretary

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, yesterday attempted to explain the government's decision in the House of Commons. She said the French government does not want the UK "to indefinitely continue to accept children under the Dubs amendment because they specify, and I agree with them, that it acts as a draw". She added it "acts as a pull" and "encourages the people traffickers".

Meanwhile Labour's Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the government was "turning its back" on children. Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott also attacked Rudd, saying: "How does she live with herself, leaving thousands of children subject to disease, people trafficking, squalor and hopelessness?"

If you also disagree with the Home Secretary, get in touch with her directly (just be sure to contact her Parliamentary address).

Attend a demonstration

Along with its petition, Stand Up To Racism will be holding a vigil on Friday evening from 6pm outside Downing Street. Click "attending" and more importantly – vote with your feet and actually show up.

Donate to charity

Yep, it's obvious but donating money (or time) to charities working directly with refugees is the most effective way to help. Make a one-off donation or set up a direct debit to a charity such as Help Refugees, the Refugee Council, the Red Cross, Syria Relief or Unicef. Check out this handy list of charities compiled by The Guardian.

Buying products or services
from companies that work with – or help to raise money for – refugees is another easy way to make an impact. Simply switch up the items you'd ordinarily buy and know you're doing a good deed and getting something useful. Double win.
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