HACKNEY COUNCIL MUST DO more for child refugees, say activists for migrants from war zones.
Safe Passage is asking local authorities to promise to welcome them. The Our Turn campaign is inspired by the scheme started in 1938, when British diplomat Nicholas Winton (1909-2015) organised the transport of 196 children to the UK.
The films look at the experiences of child migrants to the UK, including the Kindertransportees who came to Hackney; Syrian children on the Isle of Bute, in the Western Isles of Scotland; and young people who crossed Europe unaccompanied.
CSM’s Eithne Nightingale press-released: “The screening will present a snapshot of the diverse range of experiences of child refugees arriving in the UK over the last 80 years.” The aim was to encourage discussion on how Hackney as a community could help these “vulnerable and resilient children”.
Mike Hamilton, a Safe Passage activist in Hackney, said child refugees today face “almost-impassable barriers” to get to the UK. She added: “Thousands have died trying to reach safety and thousands more have had their lives put on hold in camps or on the streets in Europe.
“We’re calling on Hackney council to pledge places to welcome more child refugees to help us to convince the government that it’s time to resettle more children.”
The films to be screened at Sutton House include interviews with young migrants over the years as well as those who know, or care for, them, including teachers, lawyers, activists, therapists and youth workers.
Rabbi Herschel Gluck, a Hackney resident whose parents individually arrived in the UK on the Kindertransport, said: “We have to try and put ourselves in their [child refugee’s] shoes to think… how we would feel. And how we would expect others to treat us and have a more compassionate and more understanding, a deep appreciation of the refugee experience and what we can do to help them to integrate into British society.”
David Altheer 221018
* Child Migrant Stories will be at Sutton House, 2 Homerton High Street, Hackney E9 6JQ (020 8986 2264), just SE of Sutton Place, on Wednesday 24 October at 6pm. Free. Photographs: supplied, apart from flyer pic
* Lord Alfred Dubs, himself a Kindertransportee, has launched an online petition for at-risk child refugees to be given protection in the UK, just as Britons did 80 years ago. You are asked to sign it.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. Most photographs can be visually enlarged by pressing on them.