Conference delegate report

by Mumtaz Khan

Having had the opportunity and I am delighted to have the experience to attend the Labour party conference as a delegate from Westham CLP. I recommend those who have not had the experience to attend conference to attend next year.  As a delegate I was privileged to all the events, including the leaders announcement, the main exhibition hall where the conference speech took place, voting rights and to all the fringes.

Although the entire experience of attending conference was a grate experience. My attention was drawn to Yvette Cooper, Chair of Labour’s refugee taskforce. Her speech on child refugees was very emotional and moving, a subject very close to heart. I have worked with young asylum minors since 2003.  Asylum seeking minors fleeing war and persecution across the world. However, the situation is now at crises point.

Recent figures shows over 21 million refugees fleeing conflict and persecution across the world. At least 3.5 million are children.

The immigration Act was amended to commit Britain to providing homes for some of the unaccompanied child refugee who has arrived in Europe before 31st March, now stranded in Calais. In May 2016,  Lord Dubs Amended to allow unaccompanied children to be offered safe refuge in the UK was passed. Lord Dubs received assurance from HM Government that a number of children from Calais Camp would be welcomed and provided for in the UK.

In September 2016 more than 380 children were still in the Calais Camp.

Previous eviction at the camp by France Authorities has led to vulnerable young children going missing. Yvette in her speech share the story of the 14-year-old Afghan boy who died few weeks ago trying to climb on to the roof of a lorry near Calais was understood to have a brother in UK, and thus the right to live there.

Now that the new government has had time to settle in after the EU referendum vote there really is no excuse for ay further delay.

Teresa May and Amber Rudd should be taking immediate action. I have no words to describe the frustration towards this current government.

Our priority is to protect the best interest of children who are in need of our help, I need not remind the public of this sad and painful anniversary, when we remember a tiny Syrian boy lying drowned on a Turkish beach. A death that shook the world.  However, lessons are still not learnt.

We need ministers to take immediate action to take the stranded children in Calais to safety as the winter months are now approaching.

UK has a legal obligation to these children, but more to point this country has a moral obligation.

Mumtaz Khan

Stratford and New Town member and West Ham delegate to conference

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