The Refugee Rehab Programme Sangatte Refugee Camp, Calais, France
- November 14, 2016
- Posted by: admin
- Category: General Knowledge
France is razing a sprawling refugee camp close to the ferry terminal at Calais on the English Channel, ahead of dispersing its perhaps 10,000 Asian and African residents in communities across the country.
A refugee camp was opened in Sangatte on the English Channel in 1999 at the time of the Kosovo War, which became a base for thousands of asylum seekers and human traffickers. This camp was closed in 2001, but migrants continued to throng Calais anyway, squatting in tents in the squalid shantytown that came to be known as ‘The Jungle’. An official count of residents has never been carried out, and estimate of the number of people living in The Jungle at any given time has varied from 6,000 to 10,000. Earliest this year, a Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) study, apparently the first Quantitative Survey at a refugee camp in Europe, found that a third of The jungle’s residents were Sudanese, followed by Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Eritreans and Pakistanis.
Over 80% refugees were aiming to reach Britain, the MSF survey found. Attempts at illegally crossing the 50-km English Channel abroad freight trains or trucks have been relentless- July and August 2015 saw over 2,000 attempts to breach the Channel entrance on some nights, and pitched battles between French gendarmerie and mobs of migrants that were at times up to 1,700 strong. Even as The Jungle is dismantled, it is widely feared that groups of migrants would attempt to stay on in Calais, not having given up hope of entering Britain. British media reports, citing police, say 200-odd migrants are able to enter Britain weekly- often pushed by people smugglers who force vehicles to stop and take them on board. Work is currently under way on a 1km long, 13 foot tall, UK funded “Great Wall of Calais” on both sides of the highway approaching the harbour to keep migrants from getting on to lorries. French officials have said that the clamour to go to the UK is because it is perceived to be generous with benefits, and as a better market than France for underground jobs. Many migrants want to claim asylum in the UK; some want to move because they speak English or have relatives in Britain. Migrants awaiting decisions on their asylum applications are entitled to “Section 95 Support”, as per the refugee convention which governs the status of Refugees going back to 20th July 1951. Besides free accommodation and healthcare.
According to the French, The jungle had to be destroyed because the conditions there had become too wretched to endure. The UN High Commission on Refugees has backed Paris, saying it has “long recommended its closure” due to its “appalling” living conditions “with the most basic shelter, inadequate hygiene facilities, poor security and a lack of basic services”. What awaits the migrants, and indeed law enforcers, in towns and cities across the country where they are being resettled, however, remains uncertain. To protest the State’s plan, the far-right mayor of have been demonstration elsewhere too, and Marine Le Pen’s Front National plans to lead protests in the French towns due to receive the migrants. Britain remains cold to the idea to taking the migrants in as well, even though Hollande said last month that he was “determined to see British authorities play their part in the humanitarian effort that France in undertaking”.
Help Refugees, a grass-roots humanitarian response to the crisis in Calais, confirmed the registration of around 35 children eligible under the Dubs Amendment– meaning they are unaccompanied but do not have links to the UK- had been completed and that the children would soon be leaving. Josie Naughton, of volunteer aid group Help Refugees told The Independent one of the Britain’s leading newspapers commented: “We are delighted to see the most vulnerable demographic the under 13s and the girls finally being brought to safety and we hope to see as many unaccompanied children registered as possible. The Immigration Act Amendment, proposed by Lord Dubs, who himself came to Britain as a child refugee from Nazi- occupied Czechoslovakia under the Kinder (German for Children) Transport Scheme, means the UK must accept vulnerable unaccompanied child refugee who do not have ties to the country. Britain Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said “Several Hundred” more children will arrive in Britain from the next Jungle camp in the next three weeks. She told MPs earlier this week that they would be in addition to the 200 children who had already arrived. The latest Census by Help Refugees shows there are 49 unaccompanied children in the Jungle who are 13 years old or under. All of whom are eligible under the Dubs Amendment for resettlement in the UK.