Many children displaced from Calais Jungle camp 'have family in UK'


More than a third of the children thought to be sleeping rough in Calais six months after the Jungle camp was demolished may have family in the UK, new research suggests.

Around 400 refugees and migrants - half of whom are thought to be unaccompanied minors - are said to be living in small makeshift settlements scattered around the French port after the main camp was razed to the ground last October.

Some 213 people around the town in northern France were interviewed by Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) at the beginning of April for a new report, Six Months On, compiled with other organisations.

Some 37% of the 86 children interviewed said they have family in the UK, suggesting they may be eligible for reunification under the Dublin regulation.

Almost all (97%) said they had experienced police violence, with various children telling the organisation they had been fired at with tear gas and forced to move while they were sleeping.

One 14-year-old boy from Ethiopia said: "I didn't expect that to happen in a country like France."

A 16-year old from Eritrea told researchers he had been Tasered when police found him in the port area.

Josie Naughton, head of Help Refugees charity which was involved, said the findings were "particularly concerning" in light of the fire which tore through the Dunkirk camp.

The blaze two weeks ago left an estimated 1,500 inhabitants, including more than 100 children, without shelter, charities say.

Director of RRDP Marta Welander said: "The well-known camps in Calais and Dunkirk are gone. However, our latest research findings show that hundreds of children remain in the area - many alone, scared, and facing life-threatening dangers on a daily basis.

"It's time for the UK Government to stop trying to conceal this problem with fences and barbed wire, and adhere to its moral and legal obligations to protect these vulnerable children."