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The Family Division of the High Court has heard an urgent application seeking to provide protection to a group of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the UK who are missing.
Good Law Project supported children’s charity Article 39 to bring this novel case before the Court in light of a whistleblower report that dozens of children had gone missing from a Home Office-run hotel, with clear indications that they had been trafficked by criminal gangs.
As reported in the Guardian, lawyers representing Home Secretary Suella Braverman confirmed to the Court that 66 children remain missing after disappearing in Brighton and Hove. The Judge said these children are falling through the gaps, journalist Hannah Summers reported.
“The matters raised in this application are of the utmost gravity and urgency, concerning the protection and fundamental rights of some of the world’s most vulnerable children,” written submissions from barrister Amanda Weston KC read.
The hearing was the first stage in a process seeking protection for the missing children, with Article 39 seeking an order which would require the Home Office to disclose details about the children to the Family Court.
Lawyers representing the Home Secretary have confirmed that information about the children – including their names and dates of birth – can be disclosed to the Court, it was reported.
This is a positive step, getting us closer to securing vital protections for these vulnerable children. A second hearing date has now been set for April.
Article 39 is asking for the children to be made wards of court and for Children’s Guardians to be appointed to look after them.
These guardians would have the power to ask the Court to assist with locating them and make welfare decisions on their behalf once they are found. They will no longer be left in a situation where no one takes proper responsibility for them.
This application is one of three challenges we are working on with Article 39 to seek the proper protection of children without any parent or guardian who are seeking asylum in the UK.
If you would like to support our work on this case, you can donate here.
More information about the hearing can be found here: Sixty-six children still missing after vanishing from Brighton asylum hotel, The Guardian.