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UK child migrants can seek reunion funds
Old 27th July 2010, 11:26 PM   #1
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Default UK child migrants can seek reunion funds

Thousands of former British child migrants sent to Australia before 1970 are now eligible for UK funding towards the cost of reuniting with their families.

The funding covers the practical costs of travel and is available to any child migrant sent under school-leaving age from Great Britain and Northern Ireland to countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia.

The $10 million Family Restoration Fund was launched in the UK on Monday night.

Britain's High Commissioner to Australia, Valerie Amos, said the decision followed many years of struggle by former child migrants for recognition and acknowledgement.

"The fund has particular relevance in Australia, which is home to up to 10,000 former child migrants," she said in a statement.

Baroness Amos said she had the honour of meeting many of the migrants whose lives were blighted, and heard their personal stories.

"The fund, coming off the back of the (Forgotten Australians) apology and commemorative receptions, is another important milestone in recognising past injustices."

The UK child migrant program operated from the late 1800s through to 1970 with some 130,000 mostly poor or orphaned children aged 7-14 sent to Commonwealth countries overseas.

They were promised a better life but the reality was too often harsh institutional life, hard labour and physical and sexual abuse.

In February former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an official apology for this shameful child resettlement program and announced a compensation fund.

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