UK urged to take in children
31 October, 2016, 12:00 am
CALAIS, France – France demanded on Friday that Britain take in hundreds of minors from war-torn countries after the British interior minister suggested that Paris should do more for them following the closure of the “Jungle” migrant camp in the northern French port city of Calais.
Bulldozers are flattening the sprawl of ramshackle huts and tents which had been home to about 6000 refugees and migrants from Asia, the Middle East and Africa hoping to cross the English Channel and start new lives in Britain.
Most have now been bussed to other centres across France pending examination of their cases. But the plight of hundreds of minors roaming the area, nearly 1500 of whom have signed up for temporary lodging in container-boxes in Calais, has become a point of dispute.
British Home Secretary (Interior Minister) Amber Rudd told her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve on Friday that his government must guarantee the protection of youngsters left in limbo after the evacuation of the “Jungle”.
Mr Cazeneuve replied that Britain should “quickly execute its responsibilities to take in these minors, who hope to come to the United Kingdom. This is the best way to give them the protection they are due,” he said.
The head of France’s Ofpra refugee agency, Pascal Brice, put it more bluntly.
“We’ve done Britain’s work in tending to the adults,” he told Reuters. “The least they can do is take care of the isolated minors who are now at the CAP (temporary lodgings) and who have an interest in going to Britain.”
French government officials in the region say that 1451 minors are in the container-box lodgings. Britain has so far accepted 274 children from among this group, France says.