U.K. Apology to former Child Migrants - 6th Anniversary

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:

“Six years ago the nation apologised to child migrants for their suffering.   The anniversary is an opportunity to remind ourselves why that apology was needed.  That is why I am pleased that, since October, the Museum of Childhood, in its exhibition about child migrants, has been helping us to remember and to help newer generations of children learn about the past.  

I am also pleased that, in the five and a half years since the Family Restoration Fund was established, over 900 people have been helped to be reunited with their loved ones.”

Rt Hon Gordon Brown said: 

“Six years today the historic apology was made by me on behalf of the British people and by Kevin Rudd on behalf of the Australian people. As I have said before, I know that time does not lessen the pain or diminish the widespread sense of injustice—nor will it ever do so to our satisfaction.

From the 1920s to the 1960s 150,000 children were torn from their families and sent thousands of miles from home on the promise of a better life. The Royal Commission in Australia has taken evidence of serious abuse of our children both in Australia and in residential homes within the UK prior to being sent to the other side of the world.  This confirms the validity of the apology and warns us to be ever vigilant in safeguarding vulnerable children.

The Family Restoration Fund we established in 2010 has enabled over 900 visits by men and women who were Child Migrants to meet with their families, many for the first time following a lifetime of enforced separation. This means that former child migrants can take part in family gatherings and visit their relatives who are ill. The oldest traveller is 92 years old, showing that the desire to meet one's family does not diminish with age nor does the need to do so end at an arbitrary date. I believe strongly that as a nation we must continue to support the families who have suffered and do so for as long as they wish.

As I said in 2010: "we cannot change history, but I believe that by confronting the failings of the past we can show we are determined to do all we can to heal the wounds"."

The video links below show the 2010 statement by Gordon Brown and the response of Harold Haig, Secretary of the International Association of former Child Migrants and their Families:

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