On 25th June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received a written answer to a question on child refugees in Greece.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5618 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the conditions for child refugees in Greece; what humanitarian and medical aid they have provided to those refugees; and what plans they have, if any, to allow them to come to the UK.
Baroness Williams of Trafford: The UK Government has previously raised concerns about the conditions in the migrant camps with the Greek Government and in light of our strong bilateral relationship will continue to do so when necessary. On 22 April the UK and Greece signed the UK-Greece Migration Action Plan, which aims to improve overall management of irregular migration in the Eastern Mediterranean (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/historic-uk-greece-migration-action-plan-signed).
As part of this ongoing cooperation the UK will continue to provide further practical support when possible – this recently included the provision of over £500,000 for urgently needed humanitarian goods and in 2019 the UK helped finance the Metadrasi children’s shelter on Samos, which provides a safe place to stay and professional support to the most vulnerable unaccompanied children who arrive on Samos.
Protecting vulnerable children remains a key priority of this Government and we have a proud record of doing so through our asylum system and our resettlement schemes. The UK remains fully committed to meeting its obligations under the Dublin III Regulation, and unaccompanied children can continue to transfer to the UK from Greece under Dublin. Despite covid-19 restrictions, the UK is ready to accept transfers under Dublin whenever Member States are in a position to make those arrangements. We recently worked closely with Greece to complete the transfer of vulnerable people, including unaccompanied children, on 11 May who were united with family members in the UK. We continue to liaise with our counterparts in Member States on what actions can be taken during this period and to effect transfers as soon as it is safe and practical to do so