human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
Prioritise unaccompanied minors in "Jungle" evictions
CSAN (Caritas England and Wales) and Secours Catholique (Caritas France) call on French and UK government to prioritise unaccompanied minors affected by the evictions from the “Jungle” in Calais.
The local government in Calais ruled for the eviction of the southern part of the Jungle refugee camp on Thursday 25 February, allowing the destruction of hundreds of tents that thousands temporarily call home.
Dr Philip McCarthy, CEO of CSAN said, “no one wants to see the camp continue, however we need more time to assess the welfare of vulnerable unaccompanied minors and put in place proper arrangements to prioritise their health and social needs. It is also vital that unaccompanied minors are afforded the opportunity to be reunited with family members who have found sanctuary in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.”
Vincent De Coninck, Project Manager in Calais for Secours Catholique, CSAN’s partner in France, echoes Dr McCarthy’s statement, “the solution to eradicate the camp is not a solution as long as it does not provide proper solutions for everybody.”
“We would like the camp to disappear in the future and we’re ready to collaborate, but it must take time – we have to discuss it with the refugees, experiment and try different solutions. It’s as if the government would like to make people disappear before the spring because they are afraid of new arrivals.”
Bernard Thibaud, General Secretary of Secours Catholique adds there is, “a lack of trust between migrants and the government.” Citing an appeal before the Calais state council, he warns against the use of any force against, “people who have been victims of violence throughout their entire journey”.