Amnesty: ‘UK must allow refugees with family into country’

© Pascal Rossignol
Campaigners have called on the British government to grant the family members of refugees already settled in the UK entry into Britain after a court ruled that four Syrians in the French “Jungle” camp must be allowed to rejoin their families.

The plea from human rights group Amnesty International UK follows a landmark court ruling last week which ordered that four Syrians from the so-called ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais, France be allowed to join relatives in Britain.

Three unaccompanied boys and a dependent adult were granted permission to live in the UK with their family while their asylum claims are being examined.

The court’s ruling, which was published on Friday, stated that the decision may act as a limited precedent for allowing other vulnerable claimants to cross the English Channel.

Now Amnesty International wants the government to revise its position and allow more refugees to join family already in Britain.

Speaking after the judgement was issued by Justice Bernard McCloskey, Amnesty International UK’s Refugees and Migrants Program Director Steve Symonds called on the Home Secretary to reunite families separated by the Channel.

For the UK government to fight this case all the way to court is a demoralizing reminder of how it continues to shirk its responsibility to provide safe refuge to those already forced to flee to Europe,” he said.

Britain has voluntarily signed up to an arrangement which means that the asylum claim of people such as these four Syrian refugees – whose siblings are recognized refugees here – are the UK’s responsibility. It’s time now for the Home Secretary to commit the UK to a Europe-wide collective effort to grant safety to those who cannot find it elsewhere. This must include reuniting far more refugees with their family here.

Until this happens people will continue to be forced to choose between the dangers of war and persecution, and the exploitations of countries neighboring conflict and the appalling risks of the perilous journey across land and sea to Europe.