We must learn from what happened in Calais, when the UK showed it could do what it takes to get children to safety in a crisis. Similar support must be given to children in Dunkirk currently facing an uncertain future, to prevent these children disappearing and falling into the hands of traffickers looking to exploit them.
We need to ensure the voices of refugees and people seeking asylum in Britain are heard. Refugee Action will be sharing with our supporters and with prospective MPs of all parties the experiences of the people we work with and how their lives can be improved. This is an important opportunity for parties to make clear commitments to refugees and people seeking sanctuary.
As we approach Easter, it's easy to look around and find a rather bleak, even devastating, picture of the world. There's famine in East Africa, with 16 million people on the brink of starvation and 22 million in need of humanitarian assistance to survive. The British public have been incredibly generous in their response but without even more funding, people are at risk of dying from hunger.
With the embers of the fire in Dunkirk still glowing, now is the time for our Home Office to act to ensure children are protected by our laws and kept away from smugglers and traffickers. The horror faced by children in these awful camps can be ended by changing our Immigration Rules to ensure there is a sustainable legal process for getting children to the safety of their extended family in the UK when they are forced to leave their home.
The only home had by some 1,500 men women and children has been reduced to ashes. This is a dire and deeply tragic situation, that was entirely preventable. It is important to remember, these are not criminals to be interned, but individuals experiencing the deepest tragedy of their lives, fleeing war, persecution and violence. They don't need our pity, but they deserve dignity and respect, because without this, their suffering will only be intensified.
Child refugees have been emphatically failed by the British government. Wanting to help children is a worthy impulse. But in the end we have to engage with, both the children and, their families. Waves of migrants are moving across Western Europe driven by war and famine. So far European governments have tried to deal with the problem with barbed wire, walls, bulldozing encampments and criminalising the migrants themselves. There has to be a better and more sustainable response. We need much more genuine co-operation between European governments, whether they are in Schengen or not. Sadly, with Britain leaving the EU, better co-operation seems further away than ever.
Our leaders must remember that immigrants have created some of our largest companies, built America's global dominance and if we created barriers to bringing talent to the US the likes of Apple and Google wouldn't exist today. The immigrants who did important, world-changing things did them here because this country welcomed them and that's what makes America so great!
Emran is an 11-year-old Afghan boy. He's speaks near perfect English. We're walking along a busy road in Central Europe, lined with seedy sex shops, dilapidated eateries and a grimy bus terminal. I'm filming him for a Channel 4 documentary - War Child - and he's been questioning me on the finer points of British culture for the past hour.
Western states have always prioritised domestic responsibilities over international ones, as all countries do. However, the gap between these responsibilities has never seemed so wide. Recent political events seem to suggest a possible cultural shift when it comes to Western states becoming embroiled with an international crisis.