Conference on challenges facing child refugees

Press Office
Afghan refugee, by Staff Sgt Stacey Haga, Kabul by Staff Sgt. Stacey Haga }

As the number of displaced children around the world reaches historic levels, experts who work with child refugees will gather at the University of Kent on 24 November.

Held in the Darwin conference centre on Thursday 24 November, Child Refugees Welcome? Working together to meet the challenges of the Immigration Acts 2014 & 2016, is jointly sponsored by Kent Law Clinic and the Migrant and Refugee Children’s legal Unit (MiCLU).

It will bring together professionals from social care, law, health and education to discuss the challenges of meeting the complex needs of unaccompanied and separated children seeking international protection in the UK.

Sheona York, Reader in Law and Immigration Solicitor, Kent Law Clinic will introduce guests including the keynote speaker, The Lord Dubs, sponsor of the ‘Dubs Amendment’ on child refugees. Other speakers include:

  • Baljeet Sandhu, MiCLU, Islington Law Centre: Understanding child-specific persecution and harm
  • Zoe Given-Wilson, Centre for the Study of Emotion in Law: Trauma and mental health of separated children and young people
  • Dr. Ana Draper, UASC project in Kent Reception Centres: The physical and mental health needs of unaccompanied and separated young people arriving in Kent
  • Catriona MacSween, Scottish Guardianship Service: Guardianship of separated and trafficked young people
  • Shu Shin Luh, barrister, Garden Court Chambers: Care and support of separated young people after the Immigration Act 2016
  • Daniel Rourke, Migrant Law Project, Islington Law Centre: Dublin III and family reunion for child refugees

According to the latest figures from UNICEF, nearly 50 million children have been uprooted worldwide – with 28 million forcibly displaced by conflict and violence within and across borders.

Last year, Eurostat recorded 88,265 claims for asylum having been lodged by unaccompanied children across the EU, of which 3.4% (3,045) were in the UK. The UK government has promised to protect more children and yet many continue to arrive on our shores through life-threatening means.