"Let the children come" Home Office lobby
Following his trip last week to the 'Jungle' in Calais with a group of faith leaders Fr Dominic Robinson SJ of Farm Street Church today joined around 200 campaigners and politicians at the Home Office, to urge Home Secretary Amber Rudd to allow a group of 375 unaccompanied refugee children to come to England. Organised by London Citizens, the event marked the first anniversary of the death of Ayan Kurdi, whose body was washed up on a Greek beach as his family fled Syria.
Speakers included Bishop Peter Hill, the labour peer Lord Dubs who survived the Holocaust as a child refugee via the Kindertransport, Actors Vanessa Redgrave and Juliet Stevenson, Rabbi Janet Darley, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, and Salvation Army Major Paul Kingscott who began the speeches with a quote from the Gospels in which Jesus said: "Let the children come".
The leaders of the London Boroughs of Hammersmith and Ealing declared that they were ready to offer foster homes to refugee children.
Bishop of Barking Peter Hill said “I appeal to ministers to look into their hearts and take immediate action to bring these children to safety. It has been established that the UK has a legal obligation to these children, but more to the point, this country has a moral obligation. As we mark the first anniversary of the death of Ayan Kurdi, and remember all the other refugee children who have died trying to reach safety in the last year, I call on the government to take a small humanitarian step in rescuing the children of Calais."
Fr Dominic gave the final prayer and blessing. He said: "I met child number 50. He has a name." He concluded by inviting all present to exchange a sign of peace.
Fr Dominic and companions are walking the Camino Ignaciano in northern Spain in aid of refugees later this month. Please support refugees both here in the UK and in northern Iraq by sponsoring the team!