The Our Turn campaign is asking the UK Government to welcome 10,000 at-risk child refugees over the next 10 years as part of a new child resettlement scheme. As part of this ask, the campaign is calling on local authorities to pledge places in their communities for child refugees. Over 1000 Our Turn places for child refugees have been pledged by local authorities in the UK. In recent years, Scotland has led the way when it comes to welcoming refugees but as yet no Scottish local authority has made an Our Turn pledge. The campaign hopes that local authorities across Scotland will make pledges, making sure the country remains at the forefront in its support of refugee children. Conflict and persecution have forced over 25 million people worldwide to flee their homes, leading to the largest refugee crisis since World War Two. Half of these refugees are children and more than ever before are unaccompanied, having lost family members along the way or been forced to flee alone. Only in the last year, 20,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Europe - many of these children are forced to sleep rough and are extremely vulnerable to trafficking, violence and abuse.
The Our Turn campaign is timely: this is the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport - when Jewish, Quaker and civil society leaders met with former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to ask him to offer Britain’s help to the Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. The UK Government, Scottish Government and local authorities all need to do everything they can to support refugees and migrants. Refugees and asylum seekers need compassion and support but for too long they have been maligned and demonised.