France, Greece, Italy and the UK
There are unaccompanied child refugees across Europe, but there are certain areas where concentrations of vulnerable children are highest. The Safe Passage UK head office is based in London, and we have an established presence in Northern France, and small but growing teams in Greece (in Athens and on the Greek Islands) and Italy.
Arrivals in Greece have declined substantially from their peak of 900,000 last year to 190,000 this year. However, exit routes from Greece are now largely blocked, state provision is extremely weak, and an ever greater proportion of those arriving are unaccompanied minors. While there are a few NGOs that provide legal advice they lack capacity and destination country partners to address the problem, and the Greek Dublin unit is overwhelmed and understaffed. Meanwhile the narrow guidance of the recent Dubs policy risks disqualifying many needy children in Greece.
Safe Passage is working on:
In both Italy and Greece very large proportions of the children arriving are eligible for family reunion to one European destination country or another. By improving Dublin provisions in these countries we will create an environment where transfers to countries other than the UK also increase (i.e. by leveraging more resources for the country’s Dublin units). We will use the momentum around the UK in partnership with other European actors to replicate our work to other destinations – Sweden and Germany being the priorities – so that tens of thousands of children gain safe passage. On the basis of this work we want to begin engaging also in negotiations around Dublin 4 and the UK’s post Brexit positioning with regards to the EU common asylum framework.
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