02:52 GMT29 November 2020
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    Europe's Refugee and Migrant Crisis (200)

    Hundreds of unaccompanied children are believed to be missing, their fate unknown following a decision by Britain's Home Office to refuse young refugees from France the opportunity to join their families in the UK without telling them why.

    Safe Passage, an organization working to reunite child refugees and their families challenged the ruling by the High Court that the Home Office had acted lawfully when it didn't provide reasons for rejections after obtaining emails between Home Office officials revealing that the government acted on advice from Home Office lawyers not to provide the children with reason to avoid future legal challenges.

    In 2016, the Home Office assessed 1,000 child refugees to see whether they had the right to join their families in the UK under the EU's Dublin Regulation rules but refused passage to 530 unaccompanied minors offering no reason why rendering them unable to challenge the legal decision.

    READ MORE: UK Unaware of Whereabouts of at Least 100 Child Refugees Smuggled From Calais

    In what's been described as a victory for campaigners, the Court of Appeal has found the Home Office "materially misled" a High Court judge at an earlier hearing in which an "incomplete picture" of evidence was offered.

    "Tragically, many of the children that were refused by the government with no good reason have since gone missing from French authorities' care, and we have little or no information on their whereabouts or well being," Beth Gardiner-Smith of Safe Passage said in a statement.

    "By refusing these application without providing reasons, the Home Office left potentially hundreds of unaccompanied children in Calais with no viable legal avenues to join their families."

    "The Home Office knew the risk that these children might lose faith in the legal process and attempt to find their own way to their families. But it withheld the information anyway," says Beth Gardiner-Smith.

    The Court of Appeal has found that the original ruling in favor of the Secretary of State for the Home Department was wrong, because the judge was given an 'incomplete picture' by the government and 'a great deal of important evidence' was not brought to the attention of the High Court," Safe Passage says in a statement.

    READ MORE: Calais Migrant Camp a 'Living Hell', UK Court Papers Reveal

    Europe's Refugee and Migrant Crisis (200)


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    vulnerable, Refugees, Child Exploitation, missing, children, Calais, United Kingdom, France
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