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By Philippe Legrain ADD COMMENTS

Since the disaster in 1986, British charities have helped thousands of young people from affected areas in the Ukraine and Belarus to have holidays with British families. Now those charities say their work is becoming impossible as the UK Border Agency rejects so many visas at the last minute.

Last month only seven of 17 children due to holiday on the Isle of Wight actually made it on trips organised by Chernobyl Children’s Life Line (CCLL), a charity which has brought over 46,000 children from the radioactive zone since 1991. The other 10 were told the night before departure that their holiday was cancelled.

Brian Bennett, the former UK ambassador to Belarus, said “These charities are better at child protection than the UK Border Agency. I can’t think why [these visas are turned down]. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that the visas for Chernobyl children are supposed to be free – perhaps it irks them that children are not paying.”

The Home Office’s stupidity and inhumanity seemingly knows no bounds.

Read the full article by Emily Dugan in The Independent on Sunday.

Posted 12 Jul 2010 in Blog

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