‘Family is everything, an absolute magnificent thing. When you say family, it is simple, it is everything. Family is life. They give you inspiration and everything to move forward with this life… I haven’t seen my family for early three years now. It is a long time and I miss my mum. I cannot explain what this feels like. A mum is, she gives me life… She is like my beating heart. Being without your family, it is like you have a body without a soul. How can I explain that? It is like a car without an engine' Habib 17, child refugee from Darfur

Every child should be able to live safely with their loved ones, but conflict and persecution can leave some with no option but to flee their homes and leave their families behind. For the few who find a place of safety in the UK, callous rules condemn them to a life without their parents or siblings. These children are recognised as refugees. Yet unlike adults, they are denied the right to be joined by their closest family members.

Our new report, Without My Family, details how the UK’s family reunion policy harms child refugees. Based on in-depth interviews with children and young people, and the professionals who work with them, the report shows how the UK Government’s hard-line policy deliberately keeps child refugees separated from their families.

The impact of family separation on children is clear: constant anxiety, fear for the safety of their families, and in some cases serious damage to their mental health.

Scroll below to read some of these stories.


It is so dangerous. Life is not there to live… In one week, 400 persons [has] gone, has died… So when people ask me where I am from, I say UK, because Afghanistan it is not even a country… You can’t go to school, you have to go from one city, changing to city to city, it is not a country, I don’t think… In my home country you feel that every day you are going to die. Every day you feel that today is the day you are going to be killed. Arman, 16, child refugee from Afghanistan

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