LORD DUBS PLANS REFUGEE RES­CUE FUND

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

LORD DUBS, who was a Kin­der­trans­port refugee him­self, is launch­ing a fund to help bring chil­dren flee­ing war and per­se­cu­tion to Bri­tain, the JC can re­veal.

The Jewish Labour peer and 10 of his fel­low Kin­der have set up the Alf Dubs Chil­dren’s Fund and do­nated be­tween £500 and £1,000 each. They say they were in­spired Sir Ni­cholas Win­ton, the man who res­cued them.

Lord Dubs, who was born in Prague, was res­cued by Sir Ni­cholas in 1939 and brought to the UK along with 669 other refugee chil­dren.

Money raised through his fund will now help Cit­i­zens UK’s Safe Pas­sage pro­ject to open safe and le­gal routes to Bri­tain for chil­dren stuck in France, Greece, Italy and other coun­tries.

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion last week to back out of its com­mit­ment to set­tle 3,000 Syrian child refugees in the UK.

Lord Dubs said: “To launch the scheme in the Jewish Chron­i­cle is im­por­tant for us, for many rea­sons.

“The com­mu­nity’s re­sponse to the refugee cri­sis has been fan­tas­tic. I have met more rab­bis than I can tell you and they have re­ally got be­hind this is­sue in a way like no one else.”

As well as pro­vid­ing money to help the Cit­i­zens UK cam­paign to bring chil­dren to this coun­try, do­na­tions will also sup­port those who are in need of sup­port to re­build their lives.

Lord Dubs, de­liv­ered a pe­ti­tion signed by more than 40,000 peo­ple to Down­ing Street on Satur­day, call­ing on Theresa May to re­open the scheme. He added: “Cit­i­zens UK and their Safe Pas­sage pro­ject has been at the heart of this work over the last year, break­ing new ground in pro­tec­tion and le­gal ad­vo­cacy for chil­dren.

“My hope is that the sup­port it brings will build on the achieve­ments of this last year and seed ini­tia­tives through which we will trans­form the lives of to­day’s child refugees.”

He added: “We are seek­ing to carry for­ward the legacy of ef­forts by the British pub­lic, when close to 10,000 chil­dren were brought to safety from Europe.

“We be­lieve ev­ery sin­gle child flee­ing per­se­cu­tion should have ac­cess to a safe and le­gal route to a place where they can lead a full and dig­ni­fied life, and that their best in­ter­ests are paramount.”

Bob Kirk, who also came to Bri­tain on the Kin­der­trans­port and has do­nated to the fund, ex­plained: “If our pri­vate spon­sors hadn’t sup­ported us, we wouldn’t be here — nor our chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and our

new great- grand­son. To­day’s refugee chil­dren also de­serve the chance of a secure fu­ture.”

On Mon­day, Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions led a protest out­side the Home Of­fice to ex­press their anger at the an­nounce­ment of the gov­ern­ment’s U-turn.

The silent protest was co-or­di­nated by Jcore and was at­tended by more than 50 peo­ple, in­clud­ing Rabbi David Ma­son of Muswell Hill Syn­a­gogue and Jonathan Wit­ten­berg, Ma­sorti Ju­daism’s se­nior rabbi.

Edie Fried­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Jcore, said: “Many in the Jewish com­mu­nity feel strongly about this is­sue. They find it in­com­pre­hen­si­ble that the gov­ern­ment is leav­ing vul­ner­a­ble lone chil­dren in refugee camps, and on the streets in Greece and Italy, at the mercy of smug­glers, traf­fick­ers, rapists and rad­i­calis­ers.

“We call on the gov­ern­ment to re­verse this de­ci­sion and to pro­tect th­ese chil­dren who are des­per­ate for our help.” A state­ment or­gan­ised by the Jewish Com­mu­nal Task­force on Refugees ex­pressed “bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment t hat the gov­ern­ment will be end­ing the Dubs scheme for re­lo­cat­ing some of the most vul­ner­a­ble refugee chil­dren in Europe. The gov­ern­ment is be­tray­ing Bri­tain’s his­tory of pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple seek­ing refuge.”

Jonathan Arkush, Board of Deputies pres­i­dent, wrote to Am­ber Rudd, the Home Sec­re­tary, urg­ing her to re­con­sider the num­ber of chil­dren the gov­ern­ment could help.

Mr Arkush said: “The sit­u­a­tion in con­ti­nen­tal Europe is that hun­dreds of thou­sands of refugees, in­clud­ing fright­ened and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren, have been fac­ing harsh con­di­tions, and there are nu­mer­ous chil­dren be­ing kept away from their par­ents or fam­ily mem­bers.

“Many in our com­mu­nity came to the UK as fright­ened and vul­ner­a­ble young chil­dren — some on the Kin­der­trans­port — and were wel­comed into this coun­try.

“We ex­pect other com­mu­ni­ties who are in need to re­ceive the same treat­ment.”

Rab­bis Paul Freed­man and Josh Levy, As­sem­bly of Re­form Rab­bis UK co-chairs, also urged the gov­ern­ment to think again.

They said: “When Jews look at refugees, we see our­selves, re­mem­ber­ing our his­toric iden­tity as mi­grants and refugees.

“Bri­tain is a gen­er­ous coun­try and has at many times shown kind­ness and sol­i­dar­ity to those in des­per­ate need. We now call on the gov­ern­ment to hon­our this her­itage and show global lead­er­ship in wel­com­ing child refugees.”

1535-60

5,000 Flem­ish refugees flee re­li­gious per­se­cu­tion

1685-1700

50,000 Huguenots es­cape French mas­sacres

1780-1800

Aris­to­crats and Catholics flee the French Rev­o­lu­tion

1848-80

Refugees from rev­o­lu­tions and crack­downs in­clude Hugo and Marx

1880-1914

Over 200,000 East­ern Euro­pean Jews given sanc­tu­ary from pogroms

1914-18

250,000 Bel­gians ar­rive

1937

4,000 Basque chil­dren es­cape the Span­ish Civil War

1930-38

50,000 Jews from Ger­many, Aus­tria and Cze­choslo­vakia

1939

100,000 refugees from Bel­gium, France, the Nether­lands, Den­mark and Nor­way

1939-50

250,000 Poles come to the UK, es­cap­ing the Nazis and later the Com­mu­nists

1945-60

50,000 flee USSR, Ro­ma­nia and Cze­choslo­vakia

1956

21,000 Hun­gar­i­ans es­cape Soviet clam­p­down on up­ris­ing

1972

28,000 Asians ex­pelled by Idi Amin from Uganda

1973-79

3,000 Chileans flee Pinochet

1975-92

24,000 Viet­namese war refugees re­set­tle in UK

1992-96

2,500 Bos­ni­ans granted tem­po­rary re­set­tle­ment

1995-99

4,000 Al­ba­nian Koso­vans granted tem­po­rary re­set­tle­ment

SINCE1980:

Peo­ple from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Cyprus, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Pak­istan, So­ma­lia, Turkey, Congo, Bu­rundi, Su­dan, An­gola, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Kenya, Al­ge­ria, Nige­ria, Zim­babwe, Columbia, for­mer USSR and east­ern Euro­pean coun­tries have all been given refuge in the UK

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Lord Dubs (stand­ing, left) de­liv­ered a pe­ti­tion to Down­ing Street on Satur­day and is now launch­ing a spe­cial fund

PHOTO: PA

Mak­ing his point: Lord Dubs

PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

1685 50,000 Huguenots

1978 24,000 Viet­namese

1938 50,000 Euro­pean Jews

1956 21,000 Hun­gar­i­ans

1914 250,000 Bel­gians

1937 4.200 Basques

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