LONDON: Four Afghan refugee families whose children faced education disruptions because of hotel moves are taking the UK government to court, the BBC reported.
The families were moved from hotels in London to northern England, but a lack of school places near their new accommodation meant that their children could not complete their GCSE studies, the UK’s secondary education qualification.
The UK Home Office has housed thousands of Afghans in temporary hotels since the influx of refugees in the wake of the Taliban takeover.
One of the girls at the center of the case, Marzia, 15, now receives virtual lessons from teachers at her original London school, Ark Walworth Academy, due to a lack of nearby education options.
She said: “They told us they were going to put us in a good school. They broke their promise. The hotel is like a jail.
“A hotel is a good place but for a holiday — not for almost two years.”
Jessica West, Ark Walworth Academy principal, said that the school had been “more than happy to provide them (the Afghan students) with an education on a temporary basis.”
She added: “What is difficult is to see them move from a situation that was precarious, that we did everything we could to try and shore up for them, to another situation that isn’t permanent and is just as precarious.”
A lawyer representing the Afghan families, Daniel Rourke, said the Home Office was legally mandated to “safeguard and promote the welfare of children” in immigration decisions.
“They were promised a warm welcome and it is quite chilling to now hear the home secretary argue in court that she owes no duty to have any regard to the best interests of the children that are affected by this important decision to uproot them and move them hundreds of miles to live in an airport temporarily,” Rourke added.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK is proud to have already provided homes for nearly 7,400 Afghan evacuees, through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme and Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.
“While hotels do not provide a long-term solution, they do offer adequate space and secure and clean accommodation.
“We will continue to bring down the number of people in bridging hotels, moving people into more sustainable accommodation,” he added.