This morning, Amnesty International and Student Action for Refugees joined forces to create a giant paper chain linking the Home Office and the Department for Education together.
Featuring cut-out figures of adults and children, the colourful chain is long enough to easily cover the full 240 metre distance between the two buildings. It was made by the two groups and accompanied by a petition signed by over 30,000 people, calling on the UK government to stop forcibly separating child refugees from their families.
As it stands, adult refugees in the UK are entitled to apply for immediate family members to join them, but children are not currently granted this right. Along with Denmark, the UK is the only other European country that denies refugee children the right to apply for family members to join them. The Home Office and Department of Education are due to publish a joint strategy on the safeguarding of unaccompanied child refugees on Mon May 1.
The petition and paper chain have been created as part of Amnesty’s ‘I Welcome’ campaign, drawing attention to how children’s welfare is handled by the Government’s asylum policy and urging them to share responsibility in responding to the global refugee crisis.
Amnesty UK’s Director of Campaigns, Kerry Moscogiuri said: ‘It is a travesty that vulnerable children who have come to this country, fleeing conflict and persecution, are not entitled to apply for their family members to join them. Many of them are already deeply traumatised and this cruel policy only exacerbates their suffering. We want to send a strong message to the UK Government to change the rules to allow them to be reunited with their loved ones'.
Actress Juliet Stevenson was in attendance to show her support, along with members of the Kaiser Chiefs whose keyboard player also happened to be photographing the event as part of an ongoing project with Amnesty, in case you were wondering about the photo credit above!
Find out more about the campaign via Amnesty International