Thanks so much those of you who have donated to the Calais project! Its having a lot of impact and our first children arrived earlier this week in UK along with the children on the Safe Passage list. As requested by many, an update:
As you know the camp is now pretty much erased but as many of the young people as we could identify, we got registered and they are now in a safer area . The next battle is the legal one to get all 1200 children and young people properly assessed and processed as many have legal claims to be in the UK and have had for up to a year- your legal claim means nothing it youre a child, invisible, living in a tent, don’t speak the languages and no one has come to find you or get you legal help. Home Secretary Amber Rudd thinks 300 would be a “nice number” to accept, which she says before having bothered to identify, get to safety or speak to and have assessed, the 1200 plus young people many of whom have a case in law and all of whom deserve basic Article 3 (Safety) protection. There must be no quotas or short cuts. . Every case must be heard.
I view this in the broader sense as the UK Govt’s dereliction of its legal duty to these vulnerable people and (until the press spotlight turned on them) attempting a cover-up. Its also UK having the convenience of a border at Calais (paid for with your tax dollar – as are the French riot police you see on TV every night ) without taking responsibility for the thousands gathered at that border, many of whom as we are now demonstrating case by case, have a legal claim to be in the UK who the UK government didnt think to process before the CRS moved in and burnt the camp. With some still not registered kids inside. Within sight of UK across the channel. Within calling distance of “our border.” Two young people have died in the last months. Two young women have been brutally raped. Enough.
I know we say ‘films can make a difference’ and it sounds cliche, but this campaign and film this month, is literally day by day changing lives as we get the young people first to safety – some direct to UK- and second attempt to get them assessed so that they get a settled future in UK or Franc and are not simply ignored, or lost, or flee, or get trafficked. This is being done with Duncan Lewis Solicitors who have had a pro-bono team of up to ten, with me in Calais most days, taking cases to bring to the UK courts, and Social Workers without Borders, professional social workers who give up their days off to come and do Best Interests assessments for us, plus innumerable translators and helpers as well as my crew of course.. !
Many of you have given donations and thats been essential- Ive been able to recce then film quite a lot of days over the last 3 weeks, and commit to filming in UK and Calais for key days over the next 2 weeks as this plays out there and in the UK courts here.
As well as the film there will be a show of the first work:
Nov 3rd at Goldmsmiths Univeristy of London event
When Words Fail
Nov 18th in a new gallery piece in St James Hatcham, Deptford, as part of the Being Human Festival
What I’d love if youre interested to help, is just keep viralling, tweeting, FB’ing and posting the links for donations. Im over half way to target budget and just need it to keep going.
If people need official corroboration for all the above, this is from Lord Roberts of Llandudno, one of our sponsors, today on Facebook:
“Minors who have not had a chance to be registered were wandering around in the camp in a state of panic and confusion. Charities say there has been a stark absence of information for the remaining young people about their options; they estimate that there could still be up to 150 unregistered children .
The UK government had 12 months to prepare for the demolition of the camps, they could have avoided all the chaos and suffering by responding to our questions and requests week after week. They only acted when the bulldozers appeared. I am thoroughly ashamed of this Tory government – the struggle to bring a tiny bit of hope to these youngsters must continue. To all who’ve worked tirelessly in the camps and elsewhere – a million thanks.”A million thanks”