Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Child asylum seekers 'launch legal challenge against Amber Rudd'

Dozens of children who lived in the Calais "Jungle" camp have launched a legal challenge against Home Secretary Amber Rudd for mishandling their asylum claims, according to reports.

Lawyers representing 36 children say the Government broke its promise to bring vulnerable accompanied minors to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act, known as the Dubs amendment, The Guardian reported.

Most of those bringing the action - 28 - have had their asylum applications turned down while the other eight are still waiting to hear the Home Office's final decision, the newspaper reported.

Threatened with a major political rebellion led by Lord Dubs, the Government agreed to take in more children from the sprawling refugee camp which was demolished in October.

But according to lawyers, the Home Office has failed to bring many of the most vulnerable refugee children to the UK and not given proper written decisions in refusing these applications.

Toufique Hossain, director of public law at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, told The Guardian: "The Government has rendered these children, including some as young as 13, to effectively be without any legal remedy until well into the new year, which is the earliest that the relevant Home Office officials have agreed to give reasons for refusing some of these children."

He added: "The way that this has all been handled by both the UK and French authorities is nothing short of shameful.

"It is morally reprehensible and, we argue, simply unlawful that these children have not been given written reasons as to why their applications were refused and that these children were told about the refusals in group meetings without a proper procedure in place."

The Home Office faced criticism last month when it published guidelines which seriously restrict which children would qualify to come to the UK under the Dubs amendment.

Under new eligibility criteria, a child must be either 12 or under, at high risk of sexual exploitation, be 15 or under and either of Syrian or Sudanese nationality, or be under 18 and a sibling of someone fitting these criteria.

Labour peer Lord Dubs, who fled the Nazis and came to Britain as part of the Kindertransport scheme, at the time told the Press Association the change was "shocking".

He said: "I think in those new eligibility criteria they have breached both the letter and the spirit of the amendment. I think they have gone back on their word."

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph