27 October 2016
Responding to news of the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’, Alex Fraser, Director of Refugee Support at the British Red Cross said:
“We are extremely concerned to hear reports of children sleeping rough following the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’. The demolition should not have gone ahead without every child being accounted for and given a safe place to stay. Many of the children who remain in Calais have a legal right to come to the UK, but there is now a real risk some will disappear, when they should have been brought to safety. The UK government should be urging the French government in the strongest terms to ensure that no child is left without shelter tonight.
“The British Red Cross has been working with the Home Office to help ensure that unaccompanied minors are brought to the UK from Calais as quickly and safely as possible. We are pleased and very relieved that many of these children are now here and settling into their new homes, including the first arrivals under the Dubs Amendment. However, we cannot forget about the hundreds who remain in France who potentially have the right to come here – whether those who have a right to be reunited with family under Dublin III*, or those who are eligible under the Dubs Amendment**.
“These children need to be identified and ultimately brought to the UK as a matter of urgency.”
*The Dublin III regulation states that asylum seekers with family members already under international protection or in the process of seeking asylum, have the right to join their family members and claim asylum in the same country. This EU law is designed to protect the internationally recognised right to an intact family unit.
**The ‘Dubs Amendment’ to the UK immigration bill, led by Lord Alf Dubs, saw the British government legislate to offer safe refuge in the UK to unaccompanied children if it is in their best interests. This has been interpreted by the UK Government as applying to those who entered Europe on or before 20 March 2016, without requiring family links to the UK.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The British Red Cross is the largest provider of support to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and has been working with Safe Passage, part of Citizens UK, to facilitate the transfer of unaccompanied children to the UK under the Dublin III regulation.
- For further information or interviews please contact Anna MacSwan