Hol­lande urges Britain to take 1,500 ‘Jun­gle’ mi­nors

Dig­gers move in to clear de­bris of makeshift dwellings

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande yes­ter­day urged Britain to take in 1,500 un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors from Calais’ “Jun­gle” as of­fi­cials stepped up ef­forts to fin­ish de­mol­ish­ing the al­most-de­serted mi­grant camp. Hail­ing the evac­u­a­tion of the sprawl­ing en­camp­ment, Hol­lande vowed that France would not ac­cept the emer­gence of any more makeshift camps, which have be­come a glar­ing sym­bol of Europe’s worst mi­gra­tion cri­sis since World War II. He pledged young­sters left at a con­tainer camp near the site would be “very quickly dis­patched” to re­cep­tion cen­ters, with the hope that they would even­tu­ally be taken in by Britain. “We had to rise to the chal­lenge of the refugee is­sue. We could not tol­er­ate the camp and we will not tol­er­ate any oth­ers,” he said while vis­it­ing a re­cep­tion cen­tre in Doue-laFon­taine in western France. “There are 1,500 un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors left in Calais and they will be very quickly dis­patched to other (re­cep­tion) cen­ters,” he added. Hol­lande said he had spo­ken with Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May to en­sure that Bri­tish of­fi­cials would “ac­com­pany these mi­nors to these cen­tres and would play their part in sub­se­quently wel­com­ing them to the United King­dom.”

Mean­while on the ground, three huge dig­gers moved in to clear the de­bris of makeshift dwellings in the north­ern sec­tion of the camp which un­til Tues­day had been home to be­tween 6,000 and 8,000 mi­grants. Many tents and shacks had been rav­aged as huge fires ripped through the camp on Wed­nes­day. Around a dozen riot po­lice trucks were posted at the camp’s en­trance, where skips were in place to take away piles of de­bris. Of­fi­cials hope to com­plete the clear­ance by Mon­day night and on Satur­day morn­ing there was lit­tle sign of life save for work­men and po­lice.

French MPs ap­peal to Lon­don

In Paris, more than 100 left­wing law­mak­ers sent a let­ter to Bri­tish Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd, call­ing on her gov­ern­ment to “im­me­di­ately” take in un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors from the Jun­gle who want to re­join rel­a­tives in the UK.

The let­ter, a copy of which was sent to AFP by the deputy pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Assem­bly, San­drine Mazetier, said 1,500 un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors had been placed in safety in the pro­vi­sional re­cep­tion cen­tre-a con­tainer camp-in Calais. “(They) are not seek­ing any favours: they have the right, in line with cur­rent in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions and Bri­tish law, to go to Britain. “Their trans­fer to Britain is ur­gent. We ask you to take your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and as­sume your moral duty by im­me­di­ately or­ga­niz­ing their ar­rival.” Britain’s Help Refugees char­ity es­ti­mated that as of late Fri­day there re­mained over 1,000 un­ac­com­pa­nied chil­dren liv­ing in the con­tainer camp. Since mid-Oc­to­ber, Britain has taken in 274 chil­dren from the Jun­gle, mostly young­sters with rel­a­tives al­ready liv­ing in the coun­try. Chil­dren who had been told they were headed for Britain to join fam­ily there were get­ting ready on Satur­day, hop­ing to be on their way later in the day.

New ar­rivals in Paris

Mi­grants, mainly from Afghanistan, Su­dan and Eritrea, had flocked to the camp near the north­ern port of Calais in the hope of mak­ing it across the Chan­nel to Britain. Clare Moseley, founder of Bri­tish char­ity Care4Calais, ex­pressed con­cern for those who had been evac­u­ated. “We are wor­ried about what hap­pens next-there will be mul­ti­tude of small camps where con­di­tions are even worse than in the Jun­gle,” she said.

Many Calais lo­cals also fear the Jun­gle will sim­ply spring back up again once the cur­rent clear­ance op­er­a­tion is over. In a sep­a­rate de­vel­op­ment, of­fi­cials said that more than 2,000 mi­grants were sleep­ing on the streets of north­ern Paris, with Hol­lande pledg­ing that these new ar­rivals would also be evac­u­ated. “Those who have gone to Paris are not peo­ple who have come from Calais. There are per­haps a few. How­ever there was a new mi­gra­tion wave of peo­ple com­ing from Libya in re­cent weeks and months who have headed for Paris,” he said,.

“We are go­ing to do the same as we did in Calais,” the French leader said, mean­ing makeshift camps in Paris would be evac­u­ated. “I have been per­fectly clear: those who have a right to claim asy­lum will go to wel­come and ori­en­ta­tion cen­ters, and those who don’t will be shown the door,” he said, re­fer­ring to their im­mi­nent de­por­ta­tion. — AFP

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