A group of young refugees and asylum seekers who embarked on perilous journeys as children to reach safety in the UK have urged the Government not to end the transfer of unaccompanied minors to Britain.
In an open letter following the controversial closure of the Dubs scheme – which aimed to bring vulnerable lone refugee children to Britain – 17 former unaccompanied minors accuse ministers of failing to listen to the voices of those affected and subsequently putting young lives at risk.
The young refugees, aged between 16 and 22 and from countries including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Eritrea, detail the perilous journeys they had to take to reach the UK because there were no safe, legal routes to protection.
“Many of us have been traded like cattle between groups of smugglers on our journeys. Many of us boarded over-filled rubber boats to get here,” the letter reads.
“Many of us know someone who died on the journey.”
Some of the signatories fled through the Sahara desert and were detained in Libya before making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing. One spent eight hours in a freezer during his journey, which took him through 11 different countries.
The youngsters, who drafted the letter with the help of the British Red Cross, describe themselves as “the lucky ones”, and urge that their voices must be listen to in order to prevent others being put at risk on the dangerous journey.
“We use our voice now to say this: please don’t put the lives of young refugees like us at risk,” they letter continues.