News & Events

Uncertain Journeys – Symposium 8

New strategies and initiatives for the support of unaccompanied & separated children

Date: 15th September 2016, 10am – 4.30pm

Venue: Goldsmiths University of London

Unaccompanied children and young people are a particularly vulnerable group within the current flows of refugees to and within Europe.  While estimates vary, Save the Children calculated that over 26,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Europe in 2015.   This one-day event brings together academics, practitioners and campaigners to discuss current challenges facing the support for unaccompanied and separated asylum-seeking children, particularly in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

This conference will include presentations by academics, legal and social work practitioners and campaigners. Themes to be considered include:

  • What are the current legal, care and human rights challenges emerging from the rising numbers of unaccompanied children?
  • What immediate and longer-term strategies can be adopted to provide support to unaccompanied children and reduce their vulnerability?

Speakers include:

Toufique Hossain is a partner and Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, one of the largest immigration practices in the UK, which also holds the contract to provide legal services on-site at UK detention centres. He has taken a special interest in the deportation charter fights from UK to Afghanistan, and his group litigation in March 2015 went to the Court of Appeal: HN and others Afghanistan (2016]  challenging removals to Afghanistan, where he obtained two generic relief orders stopping removals on charter flights to Afghanistan.  He will talk about the ongoing battle to restrict the removal of former UASC children to Afghanistan.

Alice Klein is Media Manager for Save the Children. She will be presenting an overview of Save the Children’s work protecting separated youth in Europe.

Gulwali Passarlay is the author of The Lightless Sky: An Afghan Boy’s Journey of Escape to a New Life in Britain’, which tells of his journey from Afghanistan to the UK aged 12. He campaigns to promote the voices of marginalised youth (including asylum seekers).

Nando Sigona is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) at the University of Birmingham. He is one of the editors of The Oxford Handbook on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (Oxford University Press, 2014) and author (with Alice Bloch and Roger Zetter) of Sans Papiers: The Social and Economic Lives of Undocumented Migrants (Pluto Press, 2014). His current research (with Elaine Chase, University of Oxford) Becoming Adult, focuses on young migrants’ uncertain futures in the UK.

Louise Tickle is a freelance journalist specialising in education and social affairs investigations. She writes frequently for The Guardian, including articles on unaccompanied child migrants.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno is a LIberal Democrat peer. He has played a significant role in challenging the government’s Immigration Bill, with a particular focus on unacompanied children.

Emily Bowerman works for the Refugee Support Network (RSN). Refugee Support Network work with separated young asylum-seekers and refugees who reach 18 and risk losing their access to education and other rights Their report After Return: Documenting the experiences of young people forcibly removed to Afghanistan was launched in the House of Lords in July this year. UNHCR have used the research to update their Afghanistan country guidance, and several barristers and solicitors have reported appeals going in favour of the young person, with  the judges citing this research as the key influencing factor in their decisions.

Members of Social Work First and Social Workers Across Borders. These volunteer organisations have been working in Calais to support unaccompanied children and young people.

There will be many opportunities for discussion and a key aim of the event is to consider ways forward in terms of practice and research.


9.45: Registration opens

10.15: Introduction (Sue Clayton, Anna Gupta & Katie Willis)

10.30-11.30: Session 1: Overview

Nando Sigona: Perspectives on the current European ‘migrant crisis’

Gulwali Passarlay: Experiences as a young migrant to the UK

11.30-12.00: Tea & Coffee

12.00-1.30: Session 2: Law, Deportation & Return

Lord Roger Roberts: Partliamentary campaigns around migrant youth

Toufique Hossain: The court battle to stop deportation flights to Kabul

Emily Bowerman: ‘After Return’: a report on migrant youth deported to Afghanistan

1.30-2.30: Lunch

2.30-4.00: Session 4: Activism & Working with the Media

Social Work First & Social Workers Across Borders: Calais reports

Louise Tickle: Journalism & reporting on migrant youth

Sue Clayton: Social media, apps and the Mediterranean crisis

Alice Klein: Protecting separated youth in Europe

4.00-4.15: Closing remarks

4.15-4.30: Tea & Coffee



If you would like to attend, please register using this form (UJ Goldsmiths Conference application form). Please note that we have a limited number of places for this event, so early registration is recommended.


The event is taking place in The Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths University of London, Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW.

There will be signs to registration on arrival. The presentations will take place in Room 309.

Information on how to get to Goldsmiths can be found here