CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A bill to improve the lives of refugees is due in parliament on March 16

08 March, 2018

• AS local students we wish to encourage our MPs to attend an important debate in parliament which could transform the lives of refugees who have sought protection in this country.

Many of your readers will be aware of the vast humanitarian crisis which has forcibly displaced almost 66 million people around the world. Less well known are the UK’s restrictive rules on refugee family reunion.

Currently family reunion for adult refugees is limited to their partner and children under the age of 18. For child refugees there is no right to bring any family members to the UK.

Imagine fleeing war, torture, persecution, and reaching a place of safety only to be separated from your closest relatives. STAR (Student Action for Refugees), is part of a coalition asking MPs of all parties to take the chance to change this. After all what are we without our families?

Charities have noted the disastrous impact the current rules can have on refugees, who are often forced to make dangerous journeys to reunite with their loved ones.

They also note that separation from family members is a serious hindrance to refugees learning English, rebuilding their lives, and giving back to the society that has offered them refuge.

On Friday March 16 a bill will come before parliament which could – with sufficient support – give refugee children the right to be reunited with their parents. Today we say directly to Sir Keir Starmer: please attend the debate in parliament and back this bill.

JUSTIN PILGREEN
President, Student Action for Refugees
New York University, London

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