Un­der­age mi­grants moved out of Calais to sites around France

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

French au­thor­i­ties be­gan bus­ing un­der­age mi­grants Wed­nes­day out of Calais to pro­cess­ing cen­ters around France, as the gov­ern­ment tries to bring a de­fin­i­tive end to the no­to­ri­ous mi­grant camp in this English Chan­nel city.

Three buses car­ried a group of boys, mainly teenagers, out of the camp in the morn­ing. Au­thor­i­ties hope to move out all 1,500 un­ac­com­pa­nied child mi­grants from Calais by the end of the day in some 30 buses, ac­cord­ing to the re­gional ad­min­is­tra­tion.

French au­thor­i­ties trans­ferred more than 5,000 adult mi­grants out of Calais last week, but the fate of its chil­dren had re­mained un­clear. Mi­grants from the Mideast and Africa had con­verged on the camp over the past 18 months in hopes of cross­ing to Bri­tain. The filthy, law­less site, which mi­grants re­fer to as “the jun­gle,” had be­come a sym­bol of Europe’s mi­grant cri­sis and a source of shame for France.

The child mi­grants will be taken to 60 ded­i­cated cen­ters scat­tered around France where Bri­tish of­fi­cials will study whether they have the right to U.K. asy­lum, ac­cord­ing to the Pas-de-Calais re­gional ad­min­is­tra­tion. The others will be put un­der the care of French child wel­fare ser­vices.

The op­er­a­tion has rekin­dled

ten­sions among the youths and fears that it means the end of their dream of reach­ing Bri­tain.

Four peo­ple were in­jured when clashes broke out Tues­day night be­tween Afghan and Eritrean mi­grants in the camp, the ad­min­is­tra­tion said. Po­lice used tear gas to sep­a­rate them, and strength­ened se­cu­rity at the site overnight.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Bri­tish Home Of­fice were in Calais on Wed­nes­day to ex­plain to the chil­dren what will hap­pen next.

Bri­tain has been un­der pres­sure to ac­cept more un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors, with the gov­ern­ment say­ing they will ac­cept more of them but not be­ing spe­cific about how many or how quickly. The is­sue is com­pli­cated by Bri­tain’s re­cent vote to leave the Euro­pean Union, which high­lighted the public’s un­ease with im­mi­gra­tion.

French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande said in an in­ter­view pub­lished Tues­day in La Voix du Nord news­pa­per, “Within the com­ing days, there should be no more for­eign mi­nors in Calais.”

Hol­lande, not­ing that France is as­sum­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the vast ma­jor­ity of Calais’ mi­grants, pushed Bri­tain to take in more mi­nors — both those who have fam­ily ties in Bri­tain but also those who qual­ify for refuge based on the “best in­ter­est” of the child.

En­ter­tainer Lady Gaga poses for pho­tog­ra­phers dur­ing an event to pro­mote her new al­bum ‘Joanne’ in Tokyo on Wed­nes­day Photo: AP

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