An Emergency motion on unaccompanied refugee seeking children was chosen for debate by members at Liberal Democrat Conference in York. The debate was opened by Baroness Shas Sheehan Conference emergency motion, Shas Sheehan speech “……. it is for me a matter of shame that this Government announced last month that it is backsliding from its legal commitment under the Dubs Amendment and unilaterally declaring that it will cap the number at 350. I can tell you that they will be challenged on this in the courts……”
There were a series of other very moving contributions, including Bradley Hillier-Smith who told us “it is our moral duty to provide safety and hope for these children, we have the resources and we have the capacity”. Lord Roger Roberts gave a spirited speech and reminded us that we are “not just the party of Remain, but we are the heart and soul of welcome”. You can see part of the debate on this clip here, which will be updated by next week.
Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary spoke saying that we needed to do more than put up our hands to vote, we needed to take action, and the ideas would be on our website by tonight, so here they are!
- Lobby your MP on the importance and need for them to do all they can. Do it by e-mail, letter or visits to their surgery. If your name is well known to your MP make sure it comes from others too, not already known. Use template letters in the Citizens UK Action Pack It will need to be undated a bit to take into account that MPs have already voted, but the principles are the same. Some ideas on extra things to put are here ( IDEAS FOR LOBBYING IN CAMPAIGNING FOR DUBS AMENDMENT TO BE ENACTED)
- Work with others in your area to engage with your local Council. What have they offered, what has been the Government response? Encourage them to do more. There is more information on this and other lobbying in this Citizens UK Dubs UK Action Pack. Please do let us know about responses you get.
- You can donate money to organisations working on the ground with the unaccompanied children that are stranded in Europe. Spread the word to others to donate too, think of fund raising opportunities, and if the organisation you are donating to is a charity and you are a tax payer, then please make sure you Gift Aid the donation, so that the Government adds 25% of what you give! The list below is not exhaustive, but gives a number of organisations and ways to give to.
Safe Passage is a charity that works with unaccompanied children and vulnerable adults in Europe to find safe and legal routes to the UK. It also helps to support them when they arrive in the UK.
Help Refugees is a charity that works with organisations on the ground such as Auberge D’Migrants and also is appealing for funds to give phone credits to the young people to enable them to vitally stay in touch with those helping them and each other.
Refugee Youth Service supports displaced 10 – 18 year olds on the move through Europe. They are currently running projects in Calais, Ventimiglia Italy, and Athens Greece. Also they are collecting phones! You could think about asking at lost property at police, work, school, local cafes…..they may be willing to pass on unclaimed phones.
Social Workers Without Borders also supports the children.
Refugee Council is a charity that works with separated children who have managed to get to the UK, and we must not forget those either.