London, 23 March 2022 – The British ultra conservative anti-immigration Tory government voted to make it a criminal offence for Ukrainian families to enter the UK without the right documents and visa papers. They would risk a penalty of up to four years in prison
“When British people have made clear we need to help Ukrainian refugees, this is deeply shameful.” said Labour Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper.
“The vote is against the International Refugee Convention”, she said “
On top of that the British Home Office is being denounced because of its incompetence in setting up the ‘Ukraine Family Scheme’ without any official procedure and official web portal by which both refugees and prospective hosts can be matched. The Home Office page for the Ukrainian refugees to apply for the scheme is this
But the Home Office did not publish the list of the NGOs and organisations tasked with the matching procedure linking the Ukrainian refugees who applied and the host (British who want to give a room or space to them). The Home Office must publish immediately this list on an official government page, send this to all Ukrainian embassies in Europe and operating NGOs advising all Ukrainian escaping the war not to send documents or applications via non official pages. The system so far is exposing Ukrainian refugees, 90% of those are women and children, to fall in the hands of human traffickers or to exploitation.
Many unofficial web pages have been set up with the apparent goal to match people applying for the scheme, but if a refugee applies via a fake page thinking it is the right one, gives her identity and documents and is contacted by a trafficker or a person who want to exploit her, she will risk her life: who is saying stranded refugees what is the right page?
The hosts in UK must be managed by few controlled organisations which names and direct links must be listed on the Home Office page advising Ukrainians not to enter in touch with any other entities or web/social media pages.
The British government has not yet worked out this urgent problem caused by staff and politicians’ utter incompetence putting already endangered survivors escaping war-torn Ukraine at further risk. A child or woman applying or seeking a host / sponsor through a fake Facebook page could be kidnapped and trafficked.
As reported by the Independent “There is no official mechanism or portal by which refugees and prospective hosts can be linked up. When announcing the scheme last week, the Tory minister for levelling up Michael Gove said he hoped individuals and community groups would be able to “match” with refugees using social media, adding that charities would help with the process.”
Leaving the chance to individuals to freely get in touch with refugees via social media with no monitoring official mechanism is not acceptable and raises grave concerns on the basic ability of the British ruling party and Home Office’s staff to lead a country in such a moment of high alert for the population and for the country itself.
This is the result of the Conservative party mentality and politics based on the instrumental diffidence towards immigrants and refugees aimed at gaining political consensus, and now irresponsibly enacted to put under scrutiny Ukrainian refugees, mainly women and children already undefended and destroyed, branding them as potential spies when instead the Home Office should put primarily the host (British or Ukrainians in UK who offer a place to stay) under tough scrutiny and lasting control over the three years scheme.
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