The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:“Five years ago the nation apologised to the children that were separated from their loved ones and experienced terrible suffering. Today we remember those children and the nation’s apology.
“Although we cannot undo the wrongs that were done, we can help to repair the damage. That is why we established the Family Restoration Fund, which has helped nearly 800 people to be reunited with their loved ones. I was pleased to be able to announce this year that the Fund will be extended to 2017, so that many more can be helped.”
Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP said:
It is five years since the historic apology was made by me on behalf of the British people and by Kevin Rudd on behalf of the Australian people. Time, however, does not lessen the pain of former Child Migrants or diminish our sense of injustice—nor will it ever do so to our satisfaction.
Yet we can do more to help those people who have suffered. This year, I have campaigned for the extension of support to cover the whole decade and beyond. The Family Restoration Fund was set up in 2010 and has now helped nearly 800 former Child Migrants reunite with their families. With your powerful case to back us up, we have succeeded in securing support until at least 2017.
From the 1920s to the 1960s 150,000 children were torn from their families and sent to former colonies on the promise of a better life. All too often, these children suffered abuse while their families faced the cruelty of separation from their sons and daughters. We as a nation must continue to support these families 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".
Former MP and Chair of the Health Select Committee, David Hinchliffe said:
"When I retired from Parliament, nearly ten years ago, justice for the former British child migrants was, for me, very much unfinished business. I recognised that we had made some progress - particularly with many former migrants being re-united with their families - but fundamental questions about how such a scheme could come into being remained unanswered.
The apology from our Prime Minister five years ago was a significant step forward but the former migrants and their families deserve a great deal more. How could it be that, at a time when the British state was introducing important legal reforms in the way it looked after children in care, successive British governments were transporting thousands of such children to the other side of the world and abandoning responsibility for them?
This crucial question, as well as numerous more about the abuse, ill treatment and exploitation of many of the former migrants in their host countries must, as a matter of urgency, be addressed through an independent judicial inquiry into the child migrant schemes. On both sides of the world we are urgently addressing the issue of historic child abuse and the plight of our former child migrants should be a key part of this process."
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: