Letter: Refugee children

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your leader "Stop tub-thumping, Mr Straw, and start helping the refugees" (25 August) underlines the disturbing lack of imagination exhibited by the Home Secretary and his Shadow, Anne Widdecombe, in their recent remarks about asylum seekers.

Last week the Government published its report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in which it seeks to demonstrate how it is fulfilling its obligations to children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is shameful that asylum-seeking children are exempt from the provisions of the convention in this country. By introducing vouchers and an allowance worth less a day than the cost of an average bus ticket, the Asylum and Immigration Bill threatens these children's rights to adequate means to live.

To treat refugee children as non-people is to permit the very climate of fear, terror and violence most have fled.

Our political leaders must demonstrate courage and conviction in the face of bigotry on Britain's streets. Refugee children are bearing the brunt of reactionary rhetoric designed to gain nothing other than political ground.

MIKE AARONSON

Director General

Save the Children

London SE5

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