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The Home Office shames us all by its callous attitude to child refugees

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Anyone horrified in 2017 by the government’s shamefully inadequate response to helping lone child refugees trapped in makeshift camps in France should know that the situation has become even worse, with reports that the Dubs scheme (to get unaccompanied minors safely to the UK) is to be stopped.

The government has been relentlessly criticised, not least by Lord Dubs, after whom the scheme is named, for offering to help only 480 children, when in 2016 local authorities in the UK pledged to help thousands more if government funding was made available. (In short, it wasn’t.) Now it’s reported that only nine more children are to be helped via the Dubs scheme, closing the only direct legal route for unaccompanied child refugees to the UK (apart from a lengthy, complex process where children can apply to have their case transferred to another EU country where they have family).

There are so many horrific details about the conditions in the camps and shelters where these unaccompanied children are struggling to survive – filth, squalor, intimidation, the sabotage of food and water supplies, abuse … the list sprawls on. Learning about the Dubs scheme being axed, despairing children are reported to be returning to the streets, or to the camps in Calais and Dunkirk, to “take their chances”, which, for many, means trying to reach the UK illegally or suffering sexual exploitation.

This should shame us all, but first let’s shame the Home Office and past and present home secretaries, from Theresa May to Amber Rudd, now Sajid Javid. While a statement waffles about making a “significant contribution to protecting vulnerable........

© The Guardian