Amnesty International UK, Refugee Council & Save the Children
Without My Family

Every child should be able to live safely with their loved ones, but conflict, human rights abuses and persecution can leave many with no other option than to flee their homes and leave their families behind. For the few who find a place of safety in the UK, callous and unfair rules are condemning them to a life without their closest family members.

In this report, Amnesty International UK, the Refugee Council and Save the Children expose how the UK Government’s policy on refugee family reunion is damaging the lives of children in the UK, and how its justifications for the policy are unsubstantiated. Based on in-depth interviews with children and young people affected by the policy, and the professionals who work with them, the report shows how the UK’s policy is harming child refugees who have sought safety in this country and is denying them the fundamental right of being with their family.

The UK Government’s policy on refugee family reunion:
• prevents child refugees who have sought safety in the UK from being joined by their parents, brothers, or sisters;
• leaves the UK as the only EU country that refuses to grant child refugees the right to be reunited with even their closest family; and
• is directly at odds with national and international law, contravening the principle of the best interests of the child.

This policy is leaving some of the most vulnerable children separated from their families at a time when they need their parents most. The UK Government’s hard-line position deliberately keeps child refugees away from their parents and in the care of local authorities. This leaves parents and siblings with an impossible choice – never to see their closest family again or embark on a dangerous journey to try to reach them.