Monday 17 October 2016

UK to take 10 children from the Calais Jungle

Refugee Child

UK authority begins to take unaccompanied refugee child from Calais Jungle. Initially 10 children from the Jungle to settle in the UK and more to follow later on.

The first group of unaccompanied refugee children have left the Calais Jungle bound for the UK after the Home Office promised to repatriate all those eligible to come to the country.

The Calais prefecture confirmed that around 24 unaccompanied children had left the camp but warned that there was "no deal for a large-scale plan" to evacuate the children.

A spokesman told Agence France Presse: "Five Syrian minors and one Afghan minor have just been transferred to the United Kingdom. From Monday, around 10 more minors will follow, then on Tuesday, about 10 more".

The children are just some of at least 178 who have family connections to the UK but remain living in the makeshift refugee camp on the northern French coast which is due to start being demolished next week.

A report published by the British Red Cross last week found that there were failures at "almost every point" in the process of identifying those children who are eligible to come to the UK.

It said it took between 10 and 11 months on average for child migrants to be transferred due to problems ranging from basic administrative errors to a shortage of staff to facilitate transfers on the French side of the border.

On Monday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the House of Commons that she had met with her French counterpart and they had "agreed that [they] have a moral duty to safeguard the welfare of unaccompanied refugee children".

She said: "The primary responsibility for unaccompanied children in France, including those in the Calais camp, lies with the French authorities.

"The UK Government have no jurisdiction to operate on French territory and the UK can contribute only in ways agreed with the French authorities and in compliance with French and EU law.

"The UK has made significant progress in speeding up the Dublin process. We have established a permanent official-level contact group, and we have seconded UK experts to the French Government."

She said the Government was keen to bring as many children to the UK before the camp is demolished and said they would be moved within "days, a week at most".

Both the Red Cross and Unicef have called on the UK government to do more to help child refugees in the camp - with the former highlighting reports that at least three eligible children have died while trying to make their own way across the English Channel.



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