A commons select committee has urged the Government to accept an additional 3,000 Syrian refugee children after a two-year-old boy drowned off the Greek coast becoming the first refugee casualty of 2016.
The International Development Committee called on David Cameron to support a proposal put forward by the charity Save the Children of accepting an additional 3,000 refugee children from within Europe.
This is in addition to the current commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organisation for Migration estimated that one million refugees and migrants fled to Europe in 2015.
More than 900,000 people made the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean and one in every two of them were Syrian.
Stephen Twigg MP, chair of the committee, warned that many dangers still face refugee children when they arrive in Europe.
‘Having survived the treacherous journey, there is a grave possibility that unaccompanied children become the victims of people traffickers who force them into prostitution, child labour and the drugs trade. This is an issue of utmost urgency.’
The committee makes a number of recommendations. It urges the Government to continue to monitor the profiles of cases referred for resettlement, and it emphasises that vulnerable groups such as LGBT, Christians and the disabled, must have fair access to the resettlement programme.
It also recommends that MPs call on the DFID to investigate options for financial and employment assistance for refugees.
Councils have already warned they need extra help from the Government to cover the cost of caring for unnaccompanied children seeking refuge.
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