Lawyers for a leading refugee charity have begun legal proceedings against the Home Office, arguing that ministers have failed in obligations to give sanctuary to some of the thousands of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Europe.

Help Refugees says the home secretary, Amber Rudd, has breached her relocation duties to some unaccompanied children in Europe, by misconstruing or misapplying the May Immigration Act under which the government was obliged to take some children into the UK.

The legal papers state that because of this failure it “is incontestable that the unaccompanied children” whom the legislation is intended to assist “are exposed to serious risks of abuse and exploitation”.

Help Refugees’ action comes amid rising concern for the safety of several hundred unaccompanied refugee children in Calais, with just one week left beforedemolition of the unofficial refugee camp is expected to begin.

Charities are worried that no plans for rehousing the children in safe alternative accommodation have been announced, and that there has so far been no attempt to begin a systematic registration of the children either by the French or the UK authorities.

Although most volunteer groups on the ground support the demolition in the abstract, because camp conditions are so poor, they are worried that an eviction without clear plans for how residents will be relocated could make the situation worse, particularly for the children, some of them as young as eight, who are travelling without parents …

This is an extract from an article printed in the Guardian on 8th October 2016.

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