We recently asked you, the British public, to put yourselves in the shoes of families who have been torn apart by conflict.
Here is what you said.
Our poll found that just 11 per cent of British adults believe their child would be ready to face life alone at 18. Yet this is the age at which the children of refugees become ineligible to join their parents living in the UK.
Under UK and international law, refugees who have been granted asylum in Britain have the right to bring close family members to join them in safety. However, this currently only applies to spouses and children under 18.
That leaves other family members in camps and war zones overseas. Many are forced to take dangerous journeys to be with their family.
We asked the UK public to imagine what choices they would make if caught up in the refugee crisis.
More than 90 per cent said they would miss family more than anything else if they had to flee disaster or conflict. This was followed by their friends (82 per cent) and their partner (59 per cent).
Australia, Canada and the US were the countries many of you felt you were most likely to flee to, followed by New Zealand and Ireland.
Being able to be with family members would be the most important factor in deciding which country to travel to. This was followed by choosing a destination where English is spoken, or where you could continue working or studying.
Our poll shows that 83 per cent of you believe the UK’s refugee and asylum seeker population is higher than it actually is. Only 17 per cent know the correct answer is less than one per cent.
Our chief executive Mike Adamson said: “This poll shows that being with family is one of the most basic instincts we have.
“Faced with the prospect of leaving home, above all, this is what British people would want. This is no different for refugee families who have fled conflict or persecution.
“Despite this, our asylum rules are tearing families apart, at a time when being together as a family is what matters to them the most.
“Any parent will tell you that the love and concern you have for your child does not lessen as they get older, and that you don’t stop being a parent to your child when they turn 18.
“As world leaders meet to discuss how the biggest refugee crisis of our time, we hope the UK government will consider making this small change to our asylum rules and provide a safe, legal route for more families to build a new life together.”
Ahead of two major international summits on refugees taking place in September, our #TornApart campaign is calling for the UK government to widen its family reunion rules to include young people aged 18-25 who lived with their parents when they were forced to flee their country. Get involved today.
- Find out more about our work on refugee family reunion.
- More about our #TornApart.
- Statistics have been taken from a poll of 2,000 nationally representative UK adults, carried out by Opinium for the British Red Cross.