UN urges UK to provide better protection for child asylum seekers
The United Nations has urged the United Kingdom to ensure that all children seeking asylum are protected properly after criticising its policy to house them in hotels - from where hundreds have gone missing since July 2021.
"We are deeply concerned at reports that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are going missing and are at high risk of being trafficked within the UK," UN experts said in a press release.
"The current policy of placing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in hotels places them outside of the UK child protection system and is discriminatory," they added, and stressed that placing the children in hotels heightens the risk of them being trafficked.
Good to see the United Nations, too, focusing on the children Suella Braverman is shamefully dumping into hotels to be preyed upon by traffickers. https://t.co/p5tTWtOc4f— Jo Maugham (@JolyonMaugham) April 12, 2023
The UK has struggled to properly cope with an influx of asylum seekers over the past few months, and the government’s failure to find appropriate housing for them has attracted media scrutiny.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman is attempting to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing in a move that has been widely criticised.
Around 4,600 unaccompanied children have been housed in six hotels across the country since July 2021, according to the government. At least 440 children have gone missing since. Around 200 were still unaccounted for as of January this year, the minister of immigration admitted at the time.
The majority of missing children are reportedly Albanian nationals.
The UN stressed that the UK must urgently trace the missing children, and provide them with proper housing compliant with international human rights standards and protection.
"The UK Government appears to be failing to abide by its core obligations under international human rights law to ensure the best interests of the child, without discrimination, and to prevent trafficking of children," the experts added.