SCORES of concerned people turned up to a rally to call on the government to do more to help refugee children.
The event, held outside Portsmouth Guildhall on Saturday, was part of a national day of action called by Labour peer Alf Dubs and campaign group Stand Up to Racism.
The campaigners hope to put pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to act on child refugees, especially with the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais facing destruction within weeks.
They want a ‘Dub’s Amendment’ added to the Immigration Bill, allowing unaccompanied refugee children into Britain. Mr Dubs is only alive because of the Kinderstransport that saved his and many other Jewish children’s lives as they fled the Nazis.
Rally organiser Simon Magorian said: ‘This is part of a wider national campaign. If everybody did a little then it would have a great impact.
‘People say to me that this country is swamped by refugees, but if that was true then you would be seeing them at the bus stop or in the supermarket queue. They would be part of your everyday life and they are not.
‘We are told that we are a first-class country. Well if we are, then we should be acting like one.’
He said there are more than 1,000 child refugees in the camp in Calais at present, hundreds of whom have family in Britain, and that the fate of 129 unaccompanied children who disappeared after the partial destruction of the camp last February is still unknown.
Jennifer Borel, from Southsea, came along to the rally.
She said: ‘It is terrible. They should help the refugees, especially the children. They are living in dire circumstances and we don’t know what is going to happen to them.
‘We can’t turn our backs on them.’
The rally coincided with the Journeys Festival International event, which was holding kite workshops inside the Guildhall. The festival is celebrating the artistic talent and the stories of refugee artists. It has events happening in Portsmouth until October 22.
Charlotte Mountford, festival producer, said: ‘Children get lost in the system so it is good to support them.
‘The rally is really positive. Portsmouth has blown us away with its support, it has been great.’