Stand Up To Racism South London (SUTR–SL) is organising a candle-lit vigil outside Brixton Tube station tomorrow evening (14 October) to press the government to take in child refugees.
The vigil from 5.30pm to 6.45pm will be followed by a procession to Windrush Square where there will be readings, updates on the plight of refugees, including messages from children in the Calais “Jungle” camp, and projections featuring the camp and archive footage of the Kindertransport movement that rescued thousands of Jewish children from Nazi Germany in the 30s.
A national demonstration with the same theme will begin at 2pm in Parliament Square on Saturday.
SUTR–SL said that more than 9,000 refugees, 1,000 of them children, in the Calais “Jungle” refugee camp are threatened by its demolition which is planned for 24 October.
Last time the camp was part-demolished over 100 children went missing.
In May this year, the government promised in a House of Lords debate to make provision for an unspecified number of unaccompanied child refugees.
But, as SUTR-SL and speakers at a recent ceremony to welcome Syrian refugee families to Lambeth pointed out, not a single one has yet arrived.
The government pledge was the result of the “Dubs amendment” moved by Lord Dubs, who, as Alf Dubs, was a south London MP and a refugee himself, saved by the Kindertransport.
Care4Calais, a charity which has been working on the ground in the camp for over a year, has released an urgent call for life-saving items, including warm clothes, especially boots and coats.
There will be a collection for donations and money at the vigil, which can also be dropped off at International House, Brixton SW9 7QE, during regular opening hours.
SUTR-SL said it was calling for support for the vigil “to show support for refugees, and demand that our government steps up to its duty to offer refuge to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers.
“Lambeth has pledged to take 20 Syrian families, and so far four have come over. But no action is being taken to find a solution for those in Calais – except to build a bigger wall around them.”
The campaigners said that demanding a solution was especially important in the case of unaccompanied children, who should be brought here as a matter of urgency.
“We will continue to demonstrate our support for refugees and demand that our leaders take serious practical action as soon as possible, and offer safe passage to refugees in need. Please join us at this event and follow us on Facebook for updates.”