Safe Passage is a project of Citizens UK, the national home of community organising – a network of over 350 faith groups, schools and colleges that work together for the common good.
Find out more about how the Safe Passage project began below.
A small group of lawyers, community organisers and faith leaders travelled to Calais, one of many groups making the short journey trying to help.
Unlike others who went carrying aid by the ton, they went with a simple question. They wanted to ask why, when Sweden, Germany, and other EU countries were still open, were thousands of refugees risking their lives trying to survive in the ‘Jungle’ and make the crossing to Britain?
They did not expect that from hundreds of children they would hear such a simple and compelling reason – that they had family in the UK they were trying desperately to reach.
On their return, the group sought top legal advice on the situation of those minors and learned that many of them had a legal right to family reunion. The Dublin III Treaty governs common EU asylum law and says that refugees should claim asylum in the first EU country they reach. However, there is a provision under which, if you are a minor and have close family in another EU country, you can apply to be with them while your asylum claim is considered (and have your asylum claim transferred to that other EU country). This process had never once been used to reunite a refugee child with their family from France to Britain.
Safe Passage was formed, a partnership between lawyers (Islington Law Centre, Bhatt Murphy solicitors and Doughty Street Chambers), community organisers and faith leaders, determined to find a legal and safe way to help children reunite with their families.