The low recognition rate for the granting of asylum to refugees from Eritrea – which suffers severe levels of repression – has long been a concern to refugee organisations, the Independent Advisory Group on Country of Origin Information and Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee. A new Guardian report demonstrates the impact that recent updates to the Home Office's official guidance have had on children in the Calais settlement.
In a further development, SNP MP Stuart McDonald has written to the Home Secretary expressing concern at the effects of this country information for Eritrea, on which Home Office officials depend for their assessment. The new guidelines were discredited in court in October last year, but they have nonetheless effectively excluded some very vulnerable children from the scope of the transfer process. This was established after the Dubs Amendment was passed. Lord Dubs, a former child refugee, was able to secure an arrangement for unaccompanied children to be offered safe refuge in the UK.
The government determined the countries of origin from which children would be accepted under the Dubs Amendment. This decision was based on the success rate of applications for asylum. However, at the time applications were being made on incorrect information about the situation in Eritrea. McDonald argues that Eritrean children should be considered within the framework of the Dubs Amendment. He says that excluding them is “wrong in principle”.
It is believed that 10,000 children have already gone missing in Europe, and that there are 95,000 unaccompanied children still in need of help.