Tom BrakeTom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington and Baroness Shas Sheehan are making these urgent pleas to Amber Rudd, Home Secretary.

Tom Brake has written regarding an official statement recently released by the Refugee Youth Service in relation to recent events in Calais, following the eviction of refugees from the camp this week. The statement reads:

The past few days have seen much of the Calais camp on fire as well as the dismantling of shelters and homes by demolition teams. The registration process is no longer functioning. Children have yet to be registered by the State and the container camp (Le CAP) where children are meant to be moved to is full. Last night (26/10/2016) saw children sleeping on the street outside of the container camp as they were unable to been registered at Le SAS (registration warehouse) and their shelters were burnt down in yesterday’s fires. Children have been completely misinformed at every step and many have yet to be given safe and secure accommodation by the French State. RYS have had reports today that children who have not been processed are now being arrested by the State. This ties in to our concerns for children who have had their age disputed based on their looks and have therefore been denied their registration as a child. Yesterday, RYS made further recommendations that would ensure every child still living within this very dangerous camp had a space to sleep. These were not adhered to and children were forced to sleep outside and only received the most basic provisions from other volunteer services. With a lack of information, RYS remains extremely concerned for the safety of every single child that is in this camp.”

He says “This statement depicts a harrowing account for child refugees who have been evicted and continue to find themselves in a dangerous situation where the authorities have clearly not treated them appropriately. I would be grateful if you could urgently provide a response to this statement which outlines what the UK Government is doing to address these severe issues which have arisen from the eviction of these children from the camp. In your response, could you please outline what representations the UK Government has made to its French counterparts regarding the arrest of children who have not been processed.

Furthermore, could you please clarify whether the UK Government will call on the French authorities to process these refugees as soon as possible, and could you clarify whether the UK Government will welcome any of these refugees into the UK. I would also like to know what support the UK Government is giving to ensure that every child still living in the camp has a safe place to sleep.

Finally I would like you to outline what support the UK Government is giving to these children. It is of great importance that the UK leads on this crisis, puts an end to the chaos in the camps and ensures child refugees who are vulnerable and living in Calais receive the support they need.

Leaflet pic re calais deliveryLiberal Democrat Baroness Shas Sheehan, who has witnessed first-hand this week’s demolition of the Jungle in Calais and seen dozens of minors sleeping rough there, says:

“It is utterly heart-breaking to see children sleeping rough and left abandoned by the French and British governments.   “We all wanted to see the camps dismantled, but the chaotic approach of the last few days has let far too many slip through the net.   This could have all been avoided if children and vulnerable adults were evacuated before the demolition began. ”

Amber Rudd must now step up efforts and work with France to ensure no child is left behind.”


Leaflet pic re calais deliveryBaroness Shas Sheehan is no stranger to the refugee camp known as The Jungle. She has been making visits there for a year now, collecting and taking much needed supplies for those stranded there, and finding out for herself exactly what the facts are, what the problems are, and what needs to be done to remedy them.

The issues have been constantly raised in the House of Lords by Shas and her colleagues. Lord Roger Roberts and Baroness Sally Hamwee in particular. Tim Farron has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of the minors trapped there. Despite bland assurances they have kept on pressing the case.

On Friday last week the Home Office, working with a French agency, went into the camp and announced over a loudspeaker that all minors with family in the UK should report to the containers and anyone who was not registered that day would not be going to the UK. This caused a great amount of chaos, confusion, and desperation amongst particularly the young people, however Shas didn’t stay in Westminster, but made her way straight to Calais.

Before going she made urgent and informed pleas to Amber Rudd and the Home Office with specific requests for urgent help for the situation around the deep concern for welfare of young and other vulnerable people. Working with the many organisations out there she has brought a letter with specific requests for immediate attention, and worked hard to encourage MPs and Peers from all parties and none, as well as a multitude of voluntary organisations to sign the letter, in only a few days, delivered to Amber Rudd.

Names are coming in all the time to add to the letter, but surely Amber Rudd has the message by now. Right across the political spectrum and the voluntary sector, urgent work has to be done, and it has to start right now.

Let Shas Sheehan know if you want your name adding at

Sky News have now covered the issue

This is the letter produced to Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP – Home Secretary and delivered to the French ambassador:

Dear Home Secretary,

We, the undersigned, would like to express our deepest concern for the safety and welfare of the unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable people following the announcement of the demolition of The Jungle Camp in Calais that is due to start within the coming weeks.


We welcome the recent commitments from British Home Secretary Amber Rudd and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, and we are encouraged that rigour and urgency has been applied to the Dublin children. However we note that the solutions and resources brought forward so far risk being inadequate in light of our duty to protect the vulnerable, including unaccompanied minors.


We note the heightened levels of tension among people uncertain of their future and the consequent febrile atmosphere in the camp. We will not tolerate a situation whereby demolition of the camp will make them even more vulnerable.


We ask that:


  • All unaccompanied minors are removed to a place of safety before demolition begins.
  • The removal of children from the camp is carried out in liaison with the charities and associations on the ground in Calais who have the trust of the children.
  • Unaccompanied female minors be provided safe, women-only accommodation in line with their particular needs.
  • Before demolition starts there should be in place a designated safe area for any remaining minors and vulnerable people.
  • All offers of accommodation for remaining minors be investigated fully, for example by the French Red Cross, and best needs assessments of these children be carried out as soon as possible.
  • Everyone who wants to go to a French reception centre (CAO), should be accommodated before demolition begins.
  • Everyone with family links in Britain must retain their legal right to access their claim to relocate.
  • Before demolition starts medical points, staffed with qualified French registered doctors, should be visible on the perimeter of the camp.
  • During demolition, associations’ personnel in the camp to be easily identifiable using a coloured jacket.
  • Fire extinguishers and fire engines to be on standby on the perimeter of the camp.During demolition, it is important that independent observers are on the ground in the camp, given the allegations of human rights abuses during the previous demolition.In the event that the demolition is delayed, it is essential that the UK and French governments deploy suitable personnel to oversee processing of individual cases, and that representations are made to the French government to mandate UNHCR and UNICEF to administer the camp as soon as possible.Yours sincerely,

Signatories: 18 voluntary sector organisations; 2 Bishops; 55 Peers; 60 MPs; 3 MEPs and 2 members of the Irish Parliament.




Refugee Youth Services

Safe Passage UK-Citizens UK

The Legal Shelter (La Cabane Juridique)

Jungle Books (Kids Café)

L’Auberge des Migrants

Help Refugees


Social Workers Without Borders

Calais Resilience Collective (Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust)

Women for Refugee Women

Stockton Welcomes Syrians

Citizens UK Refugees Welcome Camden

Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol

Hammersmith and Fulham Refugees Welcome

Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary

Save the Children

The Refugee Council

International Rescue Committee UK

Lord Dubs

Tim Farron MP

David Burrowes MP

Stuart McDonald MP

The Lord Bishop of Southwark

The Lord Bishop of Chester

Caroline Lucas MP

The Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP

Baroness Sheehan

Lord Roberts

Lord Hylton

The Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP

The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

Stella Creasy MP

Diane Abbott MP


Heidi Allen MP

The Rt Hon the Lord Bassam

John McDonnell MP

The Rt Hon Tom Brake MP

Carol Monaghan MP

Mark Williams MP

Catherine Bearder MEP

Kirsty Blackman MP

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP

The Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP

Greg Mulholland MP

James Gray MP

The Rt Hon the Baroness Royall

John Pugh MP

Damien Collins MP

Baroness Hussein-Ece

Drew Hendry MP

George Kerevan MP

Baroness Janke

Jeremy LeFroy MP

Lord Lee of Trafford

Hannah Bardell MP

Lord Strasburger

Ian Blackford MP

Baroness Burt of Solihull

The Rt Hon the Lord Dholakia

Clare Daly TD, Member of Irish Parliament

Callum McCaig MP

Lord Shinkwin

Margaret Ferrier MP

The Rt Hon the Baroness Featherstone

Clive Lewis MP

The Rt Hon the Lord Bruce

Baroness Thornhill

Lord Stephen

Lord Lester of Herne-Hill

The Rt Hon the Lord Stunell

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP

Martyn Day MP

Lord Elton

Tania Matthias MP

The Rt Hon the Lord Ashdown

Mick Wallace TD, Member of Irish Parliament

Lord Oates

Lord Alton

Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws

Baroness Prashar

Baroness Jolly

Baroness Garden of Frognal

Lord Judd

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP

Baroness Scott of Needham Market

Lord Tyler

Baroness Walmsley

Lord Tope

Lord Clement-Jones

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP

Angus MacNeil MP

Tommy Sheppard MP

Deirdre Brock MP

Lord Rennard

Baroness Brinton

Lord Fox

Lisa Cameron MP

Paul Monaghan MP

Gavin Newlands MP

Baroness Smith of Newnham

The Rt Hon the Lord Wallace of Saltaire

Kirsten Oswald MP

Neil Gray MP

Angela Rayner MP

Patricia Gibson MP

Patrick Grady MP

Baroness Pinnock

Lord Carlile of Berriew

Baroness Bonham-Carter

Baroness Harris of Richmond

Anne McLaughlin MP

Brendan O’Hara MP

Andy Slaughter MP

The Rt Hon the Baroness Kramer

Baroness Humphreys

Joanna Cherry MP

John McNally MP

The Rt Hon the Lord Beith

Lord Storey

Baroness Ludford

Lord Teverson

Mhairi Black MP

Chris Law MP

Alan Brown MP

Alison Thewliss MP

Lord Stoneham of Droxham

John Nicolson MP

Philippa Whitford MP

Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville

Lord Goddard

Stewart McDonald MP

Ronnie Cowan MP

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Lord Shipley

Lord German

Roger Mullin MP

Stephen Gethins MP

Calum Kerr MP

Paul Brannen MEP




Margot screenshot“Stop Funding Hate” is a campaign which aims to persuade companies that claim to have a progressive image to stop advertising in The Sun, The Daily Mirror, and The Daily Mail. Even the Co-op advertises in the Daily Express.  The September 16th edition of The New European has excellent research by Liz Gerard on how these newspapers disproportionately targeted migrants.

At Lib Dem Conference, Margot Wilson, a Council member of LD4SOS spoke in the “Combatting Racism” debate.

She spoke of her son, Richard’s, campaign based on very hateful stories in the press with headlines that have misinformation about “migrants” and whipping up race hatred against them.

She said “The campaign aims to persuade companies that advertise in newspapers that demonise immigrants that this is at odds with the image of themselves they wish to portray to the public. Companies that say they have ethical values and are progressive such as Virgin Media, Specsavers, and Waitrose are paying to place adverts in such media, and they are being displayed alongside these stories.”

The Campaign has had unexpected success.  Richard Wilson started a Facebook page that, at the time of speaking, had 90,000 views, and the video 5 million views.  42,000 had signed a petition to ask virgin media not to advertise.

Why Richard wanted to do this, she explained, was that they had experienced racism in her family as her daughter was murdered in Burundi, as she was not Hutu enough and neither was her fiancé .

Richard Wilson says “ our aim is to shift the balance of incentives so that running hate campaigns costs newspapers more money through lost advertising than it makes in sales.” He is hoping that there will be long term improvements in the tone of the media who so wilfully mislead.

His family’s example of turning a tragedy into positive action can work, but it needs all of you, and those you know, to take action and join this campaign.


So many people are angry about inaction and promises that are not turning into action from the Government on unaccompanied refugee children.  This is being escalated as the time for the French demolishing the Calais Camp draws nearer.  Last time it was demolished hundreds of children just disappeared, and nobody knows if they are safe.  Children that need to be reunited with family in the UK will be difficult to trace to help.

So action is needed urgently, but the facts are getting blurred, so we have drawn up the attached sheet here UNACCOMPANIED REFUGEE CHILDREN fact sheet updated 12 10 16 so you have the facts and possible actions immediately to hand.


The statement made below is endorsed by Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary who want to see immediate and significant Government action to protect the youngsters of Calais.

Leaflet pic re calais deliveryShas Sheehan said, following on from the announcement today from Amber Rudd about taking children from Calais:

“we have got movement from the Home Secretary but we are used to hearing fine words that are subsequently not followed through.

I returned from the camp on Saturday night and there was certainly no sign of any presence from government officials – neither British nor French.

The government has been under pressure to do something in the face of parliamentary activity this week – but it needs to act now, and we need to see evidence of this on the ground. 100 children arriving within weeks is a statement gratefully received but in the meantime, where will they go when the demolition takes place? And how will they find them again – given that so many just disappeared in the aftermath of the last demolition in February?

The Home Secretary’s words are carefully chosen. She says, “We have about a hundred in train who we hope to bring over in the next few weeks but on top of that I’ve made it clear that we will take children from the Dubs agreement as well, where we can demonstrate they are better off in the UK than in France.” It is clear that the hundred in train are Family Reunion cases, and that the Dubs children will be taken conditionally – how does one decide whether they will be better off in UK or in France?

The Home Sec is meeting with her French counterpart today and she must impress upon him the absolute necessity to delay the destruction of the only place that provides shelter for these children, until a safety net is in place. “

and this is Baroness Sheehan’s response to the Minister in the House of Lords this afternoon.

“My Lords, I have spent much time in the camp in Calais over the course of both this year and last year, and I returned from my most recent visit just this weekend. There is very good reason to believe that the camp will start to be demolished on Monday 17 October. In a meeting with camp associations last week, the police said that when the demolitions start they will be, in their words, swift and violent. Therefore, I am sorry that in responding to the Urgent Question, the Minister did not say that she made strong representations to her French counterpart that the demolition planned for Monday 17 October be delayed to make more time available to remove children to safety so that they do not disappear, as they did last time. Will she ask the Home Secretary to take heed of the joint statement issued by the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, and her French counterpart, expressing their extreme disquiet at the lack of planning and provision for the children in the face of the impending demolition of the Jungle camp?”





Oxford Lib Dems get policy on unaccompanied children and Syrian refugees agreed by all on Oxford City Council

Thomas LandellOxford City Council Liberal Democrats successfully put forward the motion to the Council meeting this week on the needs of unaccompanied refugee children and Syrian refugees.

Lib Dem Councillor Thomas Landell Mills said afterwards “I am proud that there was unanimous cross party support for the Lib Dem motion to support refugees and asylum seekers locally, and for the UK government to speed up implementing care and support and to provide local government with more help to do this.”

Before the motion was put Dr Ruvi Ziegler addressed the Council (excerpts from his speech appear below).

Ziegler GSGG Event 14 April 2016“I am a lecturer in law at the University of Reading and a Research Fellow of the Refugee Studies Centre here at Oxford. I have asked to address you regarding the global refugee crisis and Oxford’s role. The world is in the grip of a growing global refugee crisis, with 65.3 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide, 21.3 million of whom outside their countries. A key reason for the worsening situation is too many countries – often the richest – refusing to share responsibility. Last week, the Prime Minister spoke at the UN summit in New York City, encouraging countries to control their borders and arguing that ‘we must help ensure that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach’. The Prime Minister’s approach reeks of NIMBYism, and we should not stand for it. The reality is that the vast majority of the world’s refugees already only get as far as the country neighbouring their own, one is that often anything but safe: the UN’s Refugee Agency estimates 86% of the world’s refugees live in developing countries…”

The motion that is now Council policy says

Council notes:

  1. The refugee crisis over the summer including refugees from Syria but also from other countries; the publication of a House of Lords report on

unaccompanied migrant children in July 2016 and the visit by a delegation of senior local government figures to the Calais ‘jungle’ migrant camp in August 2016.

  1. That an estimated 88,000 unaccompanied children are believed to be travelling through continental Europe, falling prey to exploitation and abuse.
  2. and celebrates the generous response of Oxford residents at the ‘Refugees Welcome’ event last September and the excellent ongoing work of Asylum Welcome and other refugee organisations, and confirms its commitment to build on that spirit of welcome.
  3. that Coventry City Council initially undertook to accommodate 50 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees, and now houses around 250 refugees.
  4. The significant work of council officers in coordinating a county wide group to welcome refugees, and this week’s announcement of a further 10 families

Council believes and agrees:

  1. That the UK must welcome its fair share of refugees to ease this crisis including unaccompanied refugee children.
  2. That Oxford, as a city of sanctuary, should be at the forefront of the effort to promote safety and inclusion to people seeking refuge and sanctuary.
  3. That refugees contribute a huge amount to local communities throughout the UK.
  4. That, the whole process of resettlement – from assessment overseas, through placement with individual councils, to accessing essential services – must be rooted in the best interests of the child and adequately resourced.
  5. That central Government should make additional funding available to local authorities to help with this and to build capacity, recognising pressures on housing and schools.
  6. That, working together, local and central government can provide safety, stability and support to children in desperate need.
  7. With the comments of David Simmons, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Asylum, Refugee and Migration task group, that councils require more funding to cope with the resettlement challenges.

Council therefore:

  1. Welcomes the central Government’s commitment in the Immigration Act 2016 to create a resettlement scheme to bring unaccompanied refugee children from continental Europe to safety in the UK, but notes the very slow progress that has been made in implementing a scheme to cater for this highly vulnerable group.
  2. Calls council members to sign Liberty’s statement of support, pressuring central government to honour its commitment without delay ( )
  3. Recognises the important role that the City Council and residents of Oxford have been playing in caring for children and their families seeking sanctuary, and the excellent liaison with the County Council that has been developed over the past 18 months in caring for unaccompanied minors.
  4. Urges central Government, by writing to appropriate Ministers, to work closely with local government to ensure that councils have the funding and support to build the essential regional infrastructure necessary to secure the placement and support of children across the country, especially in relation to housing provision, educational needs, and English language provision, and help us build them a brighter, safer future.
  5. Endorses the proposal to accommodate a further ten families under the SVPRS in 2017, that has been lodged with the Home Office and the Regional Partnership.