Petition Allow Palestinian Children to Enter the UK During Ongoing Conflict

The ongoing conflict in Palestine has displaced countless children, subjecting them to perilous conditions, separation from families, and dire need for refuge. We ask the UK government to show compassion by allowing these children into the UK for their safety and well-being during this conflict.

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Our proposal:

1) Requesting temporary entry visas for Palestinian children in need of safety.

2) Allowing reunification with their families when it becomes safe to do so.

3) Citizens committed to sharing the financial burden and opening our homes.

We firmly believe that these actions are not only aligned with our values as a compassionate and caring nation but also with our international obligations and commitments to protecting the rights and well-being of children in times of conflict.

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Government responded

This response was given on 21 December 2023

At present, the UK is not considering establishing a bespoke immigration route for Palestinian children. The UK considers its resettlement approach in the round, not on a crisis-by-crisis basis.

The UK Government is monitoring the situation in Israel and Gaza closely to ensure that it is able to respond appropriately.

The UK Government is calling for unimpeded humanitarian access in Gaza so that essential aid can reach civilian populations, including food, water, fuel and medical supplies. It is important that all possible measures are taken to protect civilians and ensure safe humanitarian access.

The UK Government is not considering establishing a separate route for Palestinians, including children, to come to the UK.

We recognise that some people impacted by the violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories may wish to join family in the UK. The UK Government is working with authorities across the region to facilitate the repatriation of British citizens and their family members who already hold permission to come to the UK.

British citizens and their foreign national dependants (spouse, unmarried/civil partner, child under 18), may come to the UK provided they have valid travel documents and existing permission to enter or remain in the UK; or are non-visa nationals.

Individuals who do not meet these criteria should apply for a visa to enable them to enter the UK in the normal way. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration.

UKVI is working closely with the FCDO in supporting family members of British nationals evacuated from Gaza who require a visa, signposting the necessary steps and expediting appointments at the Visa Application Centre (VAC). VACs in the region such as Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey are also open and offering a full service.

The UK maintains a proud history of providing protection for those who are most in need through our existing safe and legal routes.
Since 2015, over half a million people were offered safe and legal routes into the UK. This includes over 28,600 individuals resettled to the UK under its global UNHCR resettlement schemes, which include the UK Resettlement Scheme, Community Sponsorship and the Mandate Resettlement Scheme.

The UK continues to work with UNHCR to accept referrals of the most vulnerable refugees, deemed as in need of resettlement to the UK, under its existing resettlement schemes.

The UNHCR makes referrals based on an assessment of protection needs and vulnerabilities, in line with their resettlement submission criteria, which include children and adolescents at risk. In undertaking this assessment, UNHCR will conduct a best interest assessment (BIA) to see if a child would benefit from resettlement. Where a child is unaccompanied, it may be in the child’s best interest to remain in the region, where they are more likely to be reunited with their family.

BIAs are required for cases where parents are no longer together, and resettlement will effectively split the family unit and the custody of the child/children is not clear cut, i.e. one parent is missing and UNHCR is unable to obtain official parental consent to resettle the child/children.

Home Office

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At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

MPs debate the support for civilians fleeing Gaza

On Tuesday 6 February, MPs took part in an adjournment debate relating to support for civilians fleeing Gaza.

The debate was led by Peter Grant MP. Leo Docherty MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, responded for the Government.

What are Adjournment debates?

Adjournment debates are general debates which do not end in a vote. They give a backbench MP the opportunity to raise an issue and receive a response from a government minister.

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Debate on Humanitarian aid and children in Gaza

MPs held a debate on humanitarian aid and children in Gaza on Thursday 7 February in Westminster Hall. The debate was led by Apsana Begum MP. Leo Docherty MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office responded on behalf of the Government

During the debate, MPs discussed the situation of the children of Gaza, including in relation to safety, and access to food, water, education and medicines.

In response, the Minister stated that the Government was focused on practical solutions to getting more aid into Gaza, and continued to call for an immediate pause in the conflict to get aid in and hostages out.

What is a Westminster Hall debate?

Westminster Hall is the second Chamber of the House of Commons.

Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate.

The topic for this debate was nominated by the Backbench Business Committee. The Committee give backbenchers (MPs who aren’t ministers or shadow ministers) an opportunity to secure a debate on a topic of their choice, either in the main House of Commons Chamber or Westminster Hall.

The debate took place on a ‘general debate' motion expressed in neutral terms. These motions are worded ‘That this House has considered [a specific matter]'. This means that the debate doesn’t end in a vote on a particular action or decision.

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