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Dublin: 18°C Thursday 18 August 2022

Children from Calais 'Jungle' launch legal challenge against British government

Solicitors representing the dozens of children accuse the Home Office of mishandling asylum claims.

Demonstrators outside the Home Office in Croydon protesting against the treatment of migrant children.
Demonstrators outside the Home Office in Croydon protesting against the treatment of migrant children.
Image: Victoria Jones PA Wire/PA Images

DOZENS OF CHILDREN who sought asylum in Britain after living in the Calais “Jungle” camp have launched a legal challenge against the government’s handling of their claims, their solicitors said today.

They accuse Home Secretary Amber Rudd of breaking the government’s commitment to welcome vulnerable minors under section 67 of the Immigration Act, known as the Dubs amendment.

The case is being brought by 28 children who had their applications refused and another eight who are awaiting decisions, according to the Guardian.

“The substantive legal challenge was brought on 23 December,” a spokesman from Duncan Lewis Solicitors told AFP.

Facing a political storm over its response to the refugee crisis, the government agreed in April to allow some vulnerable children to come to Britain from the refugee camp, at its discretion.

Solicitors argue that the Home Office had failed to give proper written decisions in refusing applications and had not used its discretion due to the imposition of a strict set of rules determining who is eligible to stay.

Under the rules, a child must be either 12 or under and at high risk of sexual exploitation, or be 15 or under and either of Syrian or Sudanese nationality before they are considered.

“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,” Toufique Hossain of Duncan Lewis told the Guardian.

Alf Dubs, a Labour member of the House of Lords who pressured the government into making the commitment, told the Press Association that the criteria “breached both the letter and the spirit of the amendment.”

“I think they have gone back on their word,” said Dubs, who was himself brought to London as a Jewish child refugee fleeing Nazi troops in 1939.

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The children involved in the case lived at the squalid camp in Calais before it was cleared in October.

They were interviewed by British government representatives over the last two months before receiving the refusal of their applications on December 15 and 16, according to Duncan Lewis.

The Home Office says more than 750 children have arrived in Britain from the camp this year.

Read: Homelessness activists take over unoccupied apartment block in Finglas, Dublin

Read: Meet the Syrian refugee who travelled for 55 days to get from Aleppo to a new life in the UK

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