Tuesday

18th Jun 2019

Calais children abandoned at former camp site

  • Many children remain, even after much of the Calais camp was cleared. (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

Scores of children have been left out in the cold, after French authorities flattened the make-shift migrants camp in Calais, in northern France, earlier this week.

Journalists report that around a hundred children were sleeping rough on the remains of the camp, among burned-out shacks and riot police.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The Guardian spoke to children who had been lured off the camp site, with promises of being transferred to reception centres where their asylum claims would be assessed. Instead, riot police cornered the group while bulldozers razed the camp.

Media and NGO reports of the children's treatment triggered protests of British home secretary Amber Rudd, who told her French counterpart, Bernard Cazeneuve, on Thursday, that children remaining in Calais had to be properly protected.

Cazeneuve later issued a statement saying he was surprised by Rudd’s declaration. He said France had given shelter to 1,451 minors since 17 October recalling that Britain had a legal duty to take those children that have a link to the UK, for instance through family.

274 children have been allowed to travel to the UK in the last two weeks.

The decision to clear the camp came from French president Francois Hollande, calling it a ”humanitarian emergency” during a visit in September.

French authorities started evacuating the camp, also known as the Jungle, on Monday (24 October) and said they had relocated almost all of the 6,000 people estimated to have been living there to other parts of France .

Fabienne Buccio, prefect of the Pas-de-Calais region, on Wednesday declared the operation "mission accomplished”.

She says those who remain in Calais had arrived there in the last days from other parts of France and weren't included in the original resettlement plans.

Aid groups say local authorities are not registering any new arrivals for relocation.

British baroness Shas Sheehan, who has been working as a volunteer teacher in the camp prior to its dismantlement, accused France and the UK of human rights violations, pointing to official assurances by both sides that the site wouldn’t be demolished before all the children were safeguarded.

Sheehan convinced French police to let a group of more than 70 teenagers and adults back into the camp, where they took shelter for the night in an abandoned, unheated building.

This article was independently created by EUobserver's editorial staff and is part of a series about unaccompanied migrant children. Costs for producing this article was funded in part by the Destination Unknown initiative.

Sarkozy campaign targets Calais migrants

People seeking international protection in the so-called Jungle in Calais in northern France should be moved to the UK, said French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us