14 Feb 2017

Statement from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, on the plight of unaccompanied child refugees:

“The UK Government’s recent announcement to limit the Dubs scheme is an unacceptable step back.  The Government made a welcome commitment through the scheme to taking some of the most vulnerable lone child refugees, who are rootless in Europe and at risk of exploitation and trafficking. The current number of children brought to the UK under the scheme falls significantly short of expectations, and means that we will not be playing our part to resolve the crisis that these children face in Europe, especially in Greece and Italy.

“As a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UK has a vital role to play in offering protection and security to lone child refugees across Europe. I call on the Government to act humanely and responsibly, and to maintain a positive commitment to the Dubs scheme, within a comprehensive strategy to safeguard unaccompanied child refugees within Europe.

“During this time of political uncertainty, Northern Ireland cannot be found wanting in offering sanctuary to children, who through no fault of their own, find themselves in terrifying situations.  

Koulla Yiasouma added "When talking to children here, they have made it clear to me, that Northern Ireland must not lose our compassion for others."

NICCY has today joined with Children’s Commissioner’s from across the UK in writing to the UK Government on this issue – you can read the letter here.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People was established in 2003 by the Assembly and Parliament to: “safeguard and promote the rights and best interests of children and young people”.
  • For more information, please contact Andrew McGall, Communications Officer at Andrew@niccy.org, 028 9031 1616, mobile - 07917 544 177.