Rabbis urge government to accept 400 refugee children

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Rabbis urge government to accept 400 refugee children

Alongside faith leaders, rabbis called on Theresa May to give refuge to youngsters escaping war and the dire conditions of 'the Jungle'

Thousands of Syrian refugees have fled the country
Thousands of Syrian refugees have fled the country

Rabbis have joined leaders of other faiths in urging Theresa May to allow almost 400 refugee children as young as eight years old into the UK.

The 397 youngsters live in the notorious camp in Calais, nicknamed ‘the Jungle’ because of its dire conditions, but the makeshift town of 9,000 people is slated for demolition before the winter by French authorities.

Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner joined several bishops and the general-secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, Harun Rashid Khan, in calling for urgent government action.

They said the children “have fled conflict and persecution, are now stuck in northern France, deeply traumatised, and are at great risk,” noting that the anti-slavery commission May herself appointed had recently concluded likewise.

“We are now just days away from the start of demolition,” they said, adding that the camp was “a stain on the conscience of France and Britain… but in haste to clear it, the need to protect children is even more paramount.”

During the last demolition, charities said 129 children went missing, and children are turning to smuggling gangs amid frustration with official routes for claiming asylum.

The group of 200 Christian, Muslim and Jewish clerics urged May to “unblock” rules preventing refugee families being reunited in the UK, but the Home Office said: “French authorities… have primary responsibility for unaccompanied children.”

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