Calais refugees set to make UK asylum case


The plight of four children living in the refugee camps of Calais hoping to be reunited with family members in the UK is due to be heard in court.

One of the asylum seekers, a Syrian boy, is described by his brother, who is already living in London, as having been "traumatised" by his experiences of war and "desperate" to reach his family in Britain.

The case of the refugees, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be heard by a Presidential Panel at Field House in London.

Campaigners from Citizens UK, who are supporting the children's asylum case, are hopeful it can pave the way for more vulnerable young people to be brought to safety in Britain.

George Gabriel from the organisation said: "We hope that the outcome of this hearing will be positive, and allow for other children and young people to gain safe entry to the UK.

"That's the only way to bring order to chaos, stop people risking their lives and put the traffickers out of business."

Many refugees have risked their lives as they flee war-torn countries in a bid to find a better life in Europe.

An Afghan teenager is reported to have been found dead in the back of a lorry travelling between Dunkirk and Britain in recent weeks.

The teen, said to be named Masud, was thought to have been trying to get to his sister in the UK.

In memory of the teen and others who have died making the often perilous journey to the UK, a service will be held in London this morning shortly after the court case begins.

The Bishop of Barking, the Right Reverend Peter Hill, said while giving aid is worthwhile, many young people need to be allowed to come to Britain and be reunited with their family members.

"Our Government and the British people have been incredibly generous, giving huge amounts in aid to support the refugee camps surrounding Syria, but these young people have the legal right to be with their families in Britain.

"This isn't about an open door immigration policy, it's about helping the youngest and most vulnerable to safely join their loved ones."

Ahmed, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said his younger brother needs the stability of being allowed to live with him here in the UK.

"He is traumatised by his experiences of the war. I think this partly explains the risky things he has been doing to try and join me here in the UK. He says he has seen death with his own eyes and isn't worried about taking risks anymore."

He added: "My wife and I will be his family, his mother and father, brother and sister. I will make sure he goes to school and is safe."

Last week a British aid worker avoided jail in France after admitting trying to smuggle an Afghan girl into Britain from France.

Former soldier Rob Lawrie, 49, said he had been trying to take her from The Jungle refugee camp to family members already living legally near him in the UK.

He was given a suspended fine of 1,000 euro (£750) for endangering a child's safety.