10:26 GMT +320 June 2019
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    Refugees at the Calais 'Jungle' camp.

    Decision to Let Syrian Teens Into UK Could Pave Way For More Refugees

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    The UK may be forced to accept thousands more refugees into the country after a landmark court decision ruled that three children and a young adult currently living in Calais' infamous 'Jungle' refugee camp should be granted access to Britain.

    The Immigration and Asylum Tribunal ruled that the four people should be allowed into the UK to live with close family members while their asylum claims are being examined.

    Citing an EU asylum rule known as the Dublin III regulation, lawyers for the young Syrian men argued that the UK Home Office regularly denied them the right to be reunited with family members living in Britain.

    Technically under Dublin III, refugees with family in the UK have the right to join their relatives in Britain, providing they have already lodged asylum claims elsewhere in the bloc.

    However, the legal team for the four young men successfully argued that because of bureaucratic failings in France and the refugees' entitlement to a family life under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, they should be allowed to join family in Britain and have their asylum applications processed there.

    'Decision Will Set Precedent'

    With the UK government under pressure to increase its intake of refugees into the country, Judith Dennis from the Refugee Council UK welcomed the "groundbreaking" decision.

    "This judgment has shone a welcome light on the plight of refugees seeking protection in Europe who are desperately trying to reach their relatives. Everyone has the right to live in safety with their loved ones."

    However, the court ruling looks set to have a far wider impact than on the lives of the four young Syrians in question, with others arguing the ruling will set a precedent and lead to many more refugees lodging claims to live with close family members in the UK.

    Campaigners from the group Citizens UK said they had a number of lawyers traveling to Calais to prepare the claims of up to 200 refugees with family in the UK, while Michael Fordham QC, the lawyer representing the applicants, told the court the decision would set a precedent.

    "It will apply to others — certainly, I would say, any unaccompanied minor in this camp with a sibling in the UK. And I don't shrink from that."

    Critics Wait for Gov't Response

    The decision is sure to spark debate with Euroskeptics about EU regulations in the UK, with a number of groups concerned about Britain's levels of immigration criticizing the findings.

    Reacting to the ruling, a spokesperson for the UK Home Office declined to say whether it will appeal the verdict.

    "We will study the full judgment in detail. We stand by the well-established principle that those seeking protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. The court still requires these individuals to claim asylum in France before they can come to the UK.

    "Any request to unite family members under the Dublin Regulation is carefully considered. Where someone seeking asylum elsewhere in the EU can demonstrate they have close family members legally in the UK, we will take responsibility for that claim."


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