Britain must do more to help child refugees | Letter from Rowan Williams

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Our government’s continued insistence that detention saves people from dying in the Mediterranean rings hollow, writes Rowan Williams

We have learned that children are currently being starved, beaten and abused in detention centres in Libya partly funded by the British government (Report, 21 November). In the light of this, our government’s continued insistence that detention saves people from dying in the Mediterranean rings hollow. The government has a responsibility to ensure the safety of these children, and should immediately begin assessing cases to determine where they could benefit from resettlement to the UK.

This country, one of the richest in the world, hosts just a fraction of the world’s refugees – 0.2% in 2017 according to UNHCR figures. Despite commitments and aspirational statements, the fact is that only 417 children have been resettled from conflict zones in the past two years. Rather than letting thousands of children languish in war zones, camps and detention centres, this government should heed the calls of campaigners like Lord Dubs and Safe Passage, and make a commitment to resettle at least 1,000 children a year over the next 10 years.
Rowan Williams
Master, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge

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