The UN has estimated that there are over 20 million refugees worldwide, and so far this year over 20,000 people have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing. Our country has a proud history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution and as we face the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War it is, of course, right that we continue to play our part.
The Government should be helping refugees who have stayed in camps in the region as well as those who have made dangerous journeys to Europe. I particularly agree on the importance of meeting our obligations under the Dublin regulation to reunite refugees with family in the UK. With continuing reports of overcrowded camps and allegations of mistreatment, I would like to hear more from the Government on its progress with processing claims under the Dublin regulation from people who have made it to countries such as Greece and Italy.
We could do much more to help unaccompanied child refugees in Europe. I was incredibly disappointed that the Government announced the Dubs scheme will end after resettling only 350 unaccompanied children. 350 children is far short of what was expected – when Parliament debated and accepted the Dubs amendment last year the frequently mentioned number was 3,000. We know that unaccompanied child migrants are highly vulnerable to trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse. The Government must urgently recommit to meeting the obligations of the Dubs amendment, restore this scheme, and accept some of the most vulnerable children in the world.
As this crisis continues the Government must fulfil not only its legal but its moral obligations, and I can assure you that I will continue to follow this matter very carefully as we proceed through Brexit negotiations and press the Government on this at all available opportunities.