UPDATE: 17 th April 2017
A quick update on the film for those who are interested.
As you know, over the winter the French authorities kept the minors in accommodation all over France- some great, some appalling- and the agreement was that UK Home Office would go to all of these centres and do proper assessments of the young people and their claims (all of which could have been done up to year before in the Jungle…)
However we have evidence that most of the interviews lasted for 5 minutes or less, and were conducted without interpreters present.(This is someone’s whole life, and there are few alternatives for them..)
While a few were brought to UK in the winter period, many with a strong Dublin 3 claim (close family in the UK ) were overlooked. Those without family, who ought to have qualified under the Dubs Amendment, were entirely ignored -the Home Office having drastically (and, we argue, unlawfully) limited the scope of Dubs in November last year, precisely to avoid having to take many children.
(There are 85,000 unaccompanied minors in Europe- Dubs would have at least provided safety to 3000 and taken the pressure off other EU states).
In Feb 2017 the French gave up on the UK pathetic effort, and closed the centres they’d made available all winter, leaving 1200 kids and young people in limbo (And some, in the mountains in extreme cold and distress). The latest situation is that over 600 of them have made their way back to Calais, as the only place that’s familiar to them.They all feel that promises made to them by the British in the last days of the Jungle were not kept.
And Calais is now a very different place- almost like a militarised zone. More info below,which I wrote up as a skeleton for the last part of the film. See also May Bulman’s piece in the Independent for which I supplied info and images: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/child-refugees-france-uk-new-market-smugglers-traffickers-a7622656.html
I have committed to get the film finished by early June, for reasons below. Please do help support us in the last lap-we are busy trying to get over 40 hours of material in 6 other languages translated; buying in key archive footage; editing and sound-editing – as well as keeping in regular touch with up to 50 young people in France and Belgium, getting them phone credit, getting them basics they need to survive, getting them lawyers where we can. One boy, E, had both his legs broken on the road , and I have been supporting him in hospital in Lille. Others are living in rat-infested woods and squats in Calais, and have been getting them clothes and sleeping bags- thanks Amir Amirani! !And trying to keep in touch. Plus as ever working with the lawyers.
We have to get this abuse of asylum law through the courts and we won’t stop.
Many of you have contributed very generously, but please do consider sharing this among your contacts -as we need to raise the last £5000 or so. ( I began expecting to film for a month and make a short, now been doing it for 6 months, the film will be 60 minutes! but the end is in sight- the inquiry and the court case, is the right time to bring the film out to influence the outcome. Also I am staring to get the film sold to UK and European TV . (If I do,we will put any revenues after all costs paid, back into the campaign.)
The address for the film donations is www.calais.gebnet.co.uk and the Facebook page is Calais Children.
All very best and thanks again for making the film, happen. I feel privileged to have been able to stay on it for 6 months, its a story that needed telling in depth It highlights issues much broader-UK after Brexit-human rights law- basic humanitarian principles that should not be lost.
UPFDATE INFO ON CALAIS:
Calais has changed beyond recognition. The Mayor of Calais has long opposed the British failure to deal with the its own border issues, and enforces zero tolerance for returnees. The Jungle site is a flat empty field, with heavy police presence. Riot Police and CRS patrol the streets, cafes and stations. It’s like an occupied town.
Any returning refugee, even children, are arrested for simply being there.
On March 2nd, it’s made a ‘crime of solidarity’ for Calais citizens or aid workers to give food or shelter to a refugee, even a child. Children are sleeping out in the woods, often tear gassed while asleep. We follow Utopia 56, a charity that dives out after midnight to feed children in the woods, in defiance of the Police ban.
J runs a Catholic ‘safe house’- though even it gets raided. He says of the 600 lone children now back in Calais, less than 40 have a bed at night. R, 12, Eritrean, who I met in Le Havre, has made it to the safe house. He has an aunt in the UK and should be with her, but like others has been overlooked as a Dublin 3 case. He shivers with fear if he steps outside the house. What future has he now?
In March 2017, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd sneaked an announcement into a Parliament focussed on the Brexit debate, announcing the final number of acceptees the Dubs Amendment. From Dubs’ initial proposal that 3000 minors without family should be brought to the UK from France, Rudd stepped down to only 200 from Calais- those already taken in Autumn 2016, and no more.
There was no recognition of the tortuous process the young people had been put through due to failed UK promises.- incarcerated in the containers, sent into a winter of exile and starvation to wait for assessments that never happened, excluded from Dubs when the government narrowed its terms to discriminate by race. Rudd also sought a motion to scrap the Dubs Amendment entirely as ‘the crisis was over.” Protests were held and a vote in Parliament saved the Amendment, but as long as it is applied by the Home Office in such a vastly limited and cynical way, it is a hollow victory indeed.
Meanwhile in Calais the children have no option but the deadly cat-and-mouse game with police and CRS, while every night making ever more desperate attempts to reach the truck-stops and the port. Y, 16, from Syria talks about freezer trucks being the best option- police cannot detect body heat thought of course risks are high. Access is now more than ever controlled by traffickers and gangs. JL, Afghan,says they try to leave Calais every night “but north of the port there are Iraqis with knives, asking us for money. South there are Romanians with guns.” There have been stabbings, and E from Eritrea, with whom I’ve filmed a lot, had both his legs smashed when run over by vehicle – he may not walk again.
Others have left, disappeared, gone forever. A, Sudanese, is now in Belgium, sleeping with drunks and addicts on the street. He says “I am 14 and my life is over.” Others are in city ghettos, living rough, prey to traffickers and abusers.
This film began by my exploring whether the children of Calais have legal case to be in the UK. My findings were that a great many die, either under the Dublin 3 Regulation because they had family members in the UK, or under Dubs as particularly vulnerable young people alone in Europe. Over 6 months we have seen their Dublin 3 claims ignored and thrown aside, and we have seen a cynical dismantling of the Dubs Amendment to limit the scope and spirit of what it was designed to protect some of the most vulnerable young people in Europe.
In June 2017, both our court case ZS and Others, and two other major challenges go to the High Court to dispute the shoddy outcome that has left children suffering and stranded. A cross-party Parliamentary inquiry is going to be conducted to see what went wrong.
This film will be prime evidence for both.
Hope everyone is well, and thanks so much again for your continued comments and support!
You have all been very generous- as this story has taken a further (and hopefully soon, final! ) twist,
Here is a further update- as you may have read, two weeks ago the Home Office declared the ‘Calais Children’ operation to be over and the French centres temporarily housing the minors all over France, are being closed between now and end Feb. Many of the minors have already run away: This is mainly because either (as prior reports) they were being underfed, subject to racism and in some documented cases even bullied and attacked by (untrained) staff; or because since they’ve told theyre not going to UK , they have made their way back to the north, where they still against all odds seem to think the Jungle would be there, or a jungle would be there…
For those who have relatives in UK (Dublin 3) they feel utterly betrayed as their cases were simply missed. I personally through this work have come across 17 kids in such a situation. Luckily Ive been able to get 2 of them so far on TV (see below) and Duncam Lewis our legal partner have taken several on pro bono.
This week in response to pressure from all of us, th Home Office has agreed to re-open the Dublin 3 cases. So that is a major victory and hope all our 17 will now make it, in addition to the 14 already here directly because of this Calais Chidlren campaign. (One of these as previously noted here, was found on arrival to be suffering from a serious heart condition and has since been operated on and recovered, now living happily with foster mum in Hounslow 🙂 And many others, if only they can be found and legally represneted…! (ou see why the work never ends. having rights means nothing if you dont have a topped up phone and a lawyer, sad to say).
The rest- those without relatives, who ought to have been considreed under Dubs, are nos stuck in France. The irony is that if we cant get them in under Dubs they may well be better off claing asylum in France at least for now, but very few are, as their experience of France is up to a year of Jungle in which they were fired at with rubber bullets and tear gassed by the French on a nightly basis. Notwithstanding that the CRS doing this were directy paid for by the UK, this makes the kids perceive France as a hostie and aggressive place, not somewhere they want to stay.
So out of the 1200 that were confirmed as having been put on the buses out from the Jungle on Nov 2nd, a couple of hundred were finally accepted by the UK but a large fruther number were lost, as above. Those that remained in the centres have been told by the French authorities that they must apply to stay in France or be made instantly homeless- this has led to a further stream of young people either homeless in remote corners of France, or again heading back to Calais area.
I have managed to keep filming all of this through your support: In Calais, in secret hideouts and safe houses; In Brussels, where some have gne and are sleeping rough; and in the South (Pyrenes Orientales) where they are soon to be made homeless- and its still heavy snow and been up to minus 12. Also I have been taken on for days as consultant producer for BBC South East (Inside Out) , for ITV News as before (see report on 11 Feb) , and last week for Channel 4 News. The daily fee I get for doing this I put into the CALAIS CHILDREN film budget. And its great to be getting the story out nationally too. In due course I’ll put all the links on the website. Also C4 News has run some of our footage- of the boys In St Denis de Cabanne in a Jon Snow piece 2 weeks ago, and then last Friday 17th Feb, a Simon Israel piece on the young people in Perles-et-Castelet- both of whom Ive been following for months now , and shots of others back in Calais.
My overall view: there are now confirmed to be 5-600 kids back in Calais and not only are they sleeping rough, they are being hounded by police and CRS. Every time Ive been in Calais Ive been stopped and detained for questioning, and the kdsi arent even safe any moe to walk from A to B. Most shockingly I was told by the police there is now ‘zero tolerance” of refugees and they can in theory “walk about ” (though even thats not true, they arrest them for up to 4 days and detain them in St Omer) but not “s’installer” that is, have a place to stop or sleep…. when I said, “so they must walk forever then” they said, “yes exactly.” JESUS. Its insanity. There have also been reports in the French press of French citizens being prosecuted for aiding them (Somoene taking 3 Eritrean girls to hosptial was fined 30,000 Euros and suspned jail sentemce last week). Even religious houses offering night shelter are being raided.
So filming in Calais has been lke occupied France… Getting kids quick from pillar to post.,under contsnt atack. One boy I filmed with a lot was hit on the road near Hasbrouk and had both his legs broken. There were fears he may have to have them amputated but luckily now that seems unlikely He is now in hopsital in Lille. I proised to go visit him and take his two close friends to see him. It became like a covert operation- as I dont frive, couldnt take the boys on the train Calis to lille as armed cops all over the stations. I had to get a local supporter to drive us very low profile and be wary of police stops, and police questioning us. Glad to share this with all of you, as Calais feels really lke wartime if yorue working with these kids now.
There is a Solidarity protest sleepover at Parliament area tonight (Speeches from 8, ive been invited to gvei one on this work) and another petition going in to Downing St tomorrow 9 am . There is a march n Saturday- I’ll send links or it is all on news and social meida.
We’re winning. Slowly .Dublin 3 kids now have a chance- but Dubs still needs more fighting.
If you want to help please contribute
thanks! Sue xx
Another update to follow later today
UPDATE: 9th February 2017
Heartened that so many people and so much media has cme out and trashed Amber Rudd and the Home Office for their vicious and cynical announcement to limit Dubs kids into UK. WE have material on Channel 4 News tonight, https://www.channel4.com/…/child-refugee-row-350-children-h… and I’m shooting with ITV news tomorrow, for tomorrow night.
URGENT ALERT 5th February 2017: Please donate now!
Between 12th and 20th Feb the French will close the Centres where they temporarily housed the Calais kids. Many have already left in panic, and are back in and around Calais where they are living rough, freezing, in the mud and in backstreets, constantly hounded by CRS and poiice.
The Home Office have failed to take hundreds of kids who have a legal case to be in the UK. The Duncan Lewis case which Im most closely involved in, went to the UK High Court on Friday, to get an urgent answer on our lead case ZS who has now made 4 suicide attempts and has been in and out of hospital. We got granted a response from the Home Secretary within 4 weeks. By then he will be homeless and may not make it. Our larger case, ZS and Others, brings 37 Children that i was able to identify in the Jungle, and who ought to qualify for Dubs Amendment relief, is stayed behind the second case below, which is being heard next Friday.
This second case, brought by Help Refugees which goes to the High Court this coming Friday 17th, begins the process of disputing the lawfulness of the Home Office’s narrowed definition of the Dubs Amendment (restricting it to 2 nationalities and under 12s- totally against the spirit and letter of the amendment.) They are bringing the principle. If they win, we have a strong chance then to bring our 37 actual cases, straight after.
Meanwhile I have been filming in Norrent, an unoffical camp where someone has died, Calais where kids are living in filth and squalor, now hunted by cops and in and out of detention, and Brussels where many have gone and are sleeping rough- – also desperate.
I am in touch with more and more kids and am struggling to get lawyers to take on more , especially some of the girls and some of the really young kids that Home Office has missed. I have a list of 14 who have relatives in the UK and should have been allowed here under the Dublin 3 Convention. With both Dubs and Dublin 3, bring able to bring a substantive number of cases as we’re doing, means they will hopefully set precedents, for the more to benefit.
After 4 and a half months I am getting pretty run down but I am determinednot to stop. But I have now totally run out of funding. have gone into considerable debt to keep filming.
I wanted to stop but just hard that Yemane, one of our youngest, is alone in Calais and is living rough, and I need to see him. And m really worried about the girls too.
I am still reflecting om the very sad death of Samir, a 15 year old Sudanese boy, last month. It was hard to see, and to film at a respectful distance, the other boys carrying his coffin in minus degrees at Chalon in Eastern France, His mum back in Darfur will never be able visit his grave, and never see him again. That was tragic day.
But what bolstered my spirits was, that of the 13 Calais kids we got to UK via Duncan Lewis in early November, I have just been told that one of them, a 12 year old, “H”, lke Samir had a heart condition. But H was given as all children are, a thorough medical check when he was brought to UK and his the condition was identified. He has now had surgery, and thankfully is now in restored health.
All donors, you have made this possible. All this is big stuff we’re on the verge of, if we can SUPORT THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF THE REST. A legal right means nothing if you’re starving, cold and being harassed like criminal. It needs us to bring it to peoples’ attention and to the courts.
Please please contribute for this vital last lap of the film, and pass it to your friends and contacts to do the same.
The court cases go on over next 2-3 months. The film I would like to be completed by May as there is a Parliamentary committee being formed to assess what went wrong over the Calais issue and this will be vital evidence.
All very best everyone and thanks again. Here are some press updates:
Well, some good news since the closure of the Jungle –
THIS ONLY HAPPENED BECAUSE OF YOU GUYS CROWDFUNDING AND ENABLING ME AND THE TEAM TO GO AND DO THIS WORK. Neither I nor Duncan Lewis would have been there if it hadn’t been for your support. So thanks again and congrats to us so far!! Around 20 of our kids- including little Daniel- the 9 year old- have got to UK and are safe and warm this Xmas. These others represent a legal challenge to the HO’s negligence- their neglect, then unlawful dismissal, of their cases.
I have visited as have colleagues, many of the ‘centres’ where the French have placed the children who could be in UK and whom the Home Office has not yet taken. Some places there is no food at all, others only dry bread. Many are still wearing the thin t shirts and plastic flip flops they had from the Jungle, in minus temperatures. Many are starving and many have run away. At least two have tried repeatedly to commit suicide.
Whether you have very very kindly contributed already, or whether you are unable or unwilling to commit funding, do please very kindly consider forwarding this to your friends and contacts and via social media with a note from you.
I need to keep filming to complete the 50-minute film, which will I hope be out by March- but even more importantly to keep in touch with all the young people who call me every day, who first contacted me in the Jungle and who are now in dire straits. Funding goes equally to buy them coats and shoes etc and food when we go see them, as well as continue the investigation and the campaign to secure their rights.
We have raised £26,000 so far, and need around £12,000 to keep going to the end of the legal challenges and hopefully a successful outcome. This film will have ongoing impact for all the other refugees and stateless people who have rights but have absolutely no way of bringing them to actuation- without language help, legal help, advice and public channels and awareness, ‘having rights ‘ means nothing at all. That’s the brutal reality of human rights, as I’ve learned in the last four months. Please please spread the word and help us keep going. Please all of you, spend 10 minutes spreading this to work and social contact lists or any other organisations you know of. Thanks a million! We’ve made so much progress. Lets keep going to the end.
Some of our prior ITV News coverage…
- Who are the Calais jungle children eligible for UK home? – ITV News 14 Oct 2016 – There are hundreds of unaccompanied children in the Calais jungle migrant camp, but ITV News has discovered the extent of the struggle
- Children left with ‘nowhere to go’ after Calais ‘Jungle’ camp … – ITV.com 27 Oct 2016 – Read Children left with ‘nowhere to go’ after Calais ‘Jungle’ camp clearance latest on ITV News.
- Calais ‘Jungle’ camp clearance operation declared over – ITV News 26 Oct 2016 – Read Calais ‘Jungle’ camp clearance operation declared over latest on ITV News.
- Migrants heading to Paris as Calais ‘Jungle’ clears – ITV News – ITV.com 28 Oct 2016 – Read Migrants heading to Paris as Calais ‘Jungle’ clears latest on ITV News.
Dear all, sorry for the long silence, this doesnt mean nothing happening, rather the opposite- havent rested since last post!!
Firstly the Solicitors Duncan Lewis whom i invited to come to the Jungle to see how many young people had the legal right to be in UK, have brought a class action against the Home Office, see https://www.theguardian.com/…/calais-child-asylum-seekers-l…
Second, the conditions under which children are being kept in France are highly variable. Almost all are being looked after by volunteers not the “specialist staff” that Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised on the record. Some of these are doing a good job but in other places conditions are dire and there are on-record reports of children having been physically abused by the ‘carers.” They have in these places been fed noting but bread and the daily allowance to keep them is 5 Euros. Many are still in the same clothes they were, when they left the Jungle- sandals and t shirts.This is a freezing winter- in eg Luchon where many Sudanese boys are, its up to minus 12.
With support from your generous crowd funding I have been able to go to eight centres all over France- as far as Pyrenees, Atlantic coast, all Eastern and S Eastern France, and continue to visit others. As well as filming I’m takng aid and stuff, backed by Social Workers Without Borders who accompanied DL solictors on their Calais mission.
The Home Office says it has now finished taking those who have a real case but I have on this trip (In France now, hence hasty writing as ever! ) discovered very many that still have a legal case. And that many of the ‘full and comprehensive interviews” of vulnerable and in some cases torutred chdilren, lasted 5 minutes or less and did not have any child experts, legal experts, social workers or even interpreters present. They were then told of the negative decisions 2nd hand, casually by domestic staff at the centres- Oh youre not going anywhere.
This is in breach of their EU and UN rghts .
I have met sveral who have attempted suicide. I am today at the funeral of another who has died of heart failure. Its not the physical condtions that bother them ( though they bother me) its that large numbers still have a legal case to be in UK under either Dubs or Dublin 3, and have had a travesty of a ‘hearing’ with no chance of a fair decision. UK thinks out of sight out of mind. BUT THEYRE NOT OUT OF OUR SIGHT !!!! Many others have run away in despair. Some are sleeping rough back in Calais and in Belgium.
Many French centres are due to close at the end of January and NO ONE HAS COME UP WITH A PLAN FOR THE KIDS WHO HAVE FOLLOWED EVERY INSTRUCTION AND YET WILL SOON BE HOMELES AGAIN. There will almost certainly be more tragedies- deaths from cold , suicides, if we dont keep on this and report it and use al this evdence in the upcoming legal chalenge.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DONATE AND GET YOUR CONTACT LISTS TO DO THE SAME
December 13th – URGENT UPDATE- CALAIS KIDS LEFT IN FRANCE, FREEZING AND STARVING THIS XMAS
CALAIS CHILDREN: A CASE TO ANSWER
A campaign and documentary film-in-progress by Sue Clayton
This is a crowd-funded project and we desperately need help to finish it. I raised £20,000 and put in £4000 of my earnings, but need about £12,000 more to finish as we are trying to get all over France, and crew travel and gear costs plus editing costs have to be covered. Plus I’ve been buying coats scarves socks and shoes for the kids as a basic necessity, as many are literally without shoes and in the thin t-shirts they wore in Calais, now in minus temperatures.
As most people know Calais is the UK’s border. And yet 10,000 people were left there in the unofficial Jungle camp without their cases being processed – including an indeterminate number of unaccompanied minors – the youngest I met was 8. Over the last 2-3 months I along with other groups have battled to get these children at least named and recognised, especially as the camp was under threat of demolition. With crowd-funding help, I not only located over 160 children and filmed with many of them, I also got a team of volunteer human rights lawyers and social worker assessors to go to Calais to support them. Between myself and three other groups we were finally able to demonstrate the total number of under 18’s in camp was not 300, as the Home Office cynically/ignorantly reported, but almost 1600… Very many of these minors already have the right to be in UK under Dublin 3 provision; others offered a classic example of children who should be eligible under the Dubs Amendment.
We managed to get a steady number to UK, both as the camp was destroyed and after – that is since the French, who are extremely angry that UK has not accepted greater responsibility – have bussed the minors to “accommodations” all over France.
Since the Calais closure in November I have been travelling with my crew, and exclusively talked with them all over France, filming mostly undercover. I found some in relatively good care- but many others supposedly in care arrangements suitable for minors agreed between the British and French governments, are in various locations underfed, starving, freezing, and at more than one place on hunger strike, and with no adult supervision at all. If the hunger strike persist, kids will die- they’re already weak from malnutrition. Many – including 11 and 12 year olds – have run away and will now never get their chance of safety or security.
It’s shocking to note that these are children who STILL HAVE A CASE TO BE IN THE UK – but with years of denial by the Home Office, followed by a shoddy deal with the French over the Calais closure, and botched and wilfully inadequate assessment processes (kids’ cases were being assessed by low-ranking officers with no translators on the bus as they left the camp) their hope for justice is slipping away every day.
They have rights that have not been heard. They are suffering deeply- most say even the Jungle was better as they had more ways and means than virtual imprisonment in remote French holding-pens where no-one feeds. clothes or supports them. This is the UK’s dirty little secret- paying the French to avoid properly processing the young people.
The Home Office says they have now closed their list for UK – see
But this must not happen until every child has been properly interviewed and got lasting decisions made, in accordance with human rights law. . . I know many who are still in very bad contusions in the French ‘holding accommodation’ who absolute qualify under Dublin 3 or current Dubs, even the restricted definition of Dubs that stands now.
There is pressure to keep going- a demonstration is being held at the House of Lords this Tuesday 13th Dec 6-7pm, and there is a major court appeal being heard this Tuesday and Weds 13 and 14th- which challenges the Home Office’s recent criteria for Dubs. (currently pretty much limited to Sudanese and Syrians under 16 only, plus anyone else under 12).
More than anything I need to keep getting to all the places where the young people are- many have my number and contact me by Whats App desperate for help- and that I can keep recording this tragic human rights cock-up and get this evidence out to the public and the government to get more of them to safety.
My last film Hamedullah the Road Home was used many times in court to argue against removing turned-18s to Afghanistan. Calais Children: A Case to Answer I expect to have a similar use: help take these cases to court and publicise, pressurise the Home Office to deal more promptly, justly and humanely with these young people on our doorstep.
As well as to get every Calais child a fair deal, this outcry is for the benefit the 85,000 lone and unsafe children in Europe who face battles such as this in now an in the future.
(Donate by credit or debit card, no Paypal account needed)
I have to raise £10,000 to complete this vital work. It’s winter. The kids are cold starving and confused. We can win the battle with help of our lawyer colleagues and I regularly get material onto ITV evening news. (One coming up later this week). PLEASE HELP XXXX And you can be sure your contribution makes a difference!
As promised an update! Sorry its taken so long, Ive been in Calais, 5th time, then back last week and dealing with real life (!) and logging and editing the early material for 2 events, WHEN WORDS FAIL (Goldsmiths Theatre and Film event last week) and I AM HUMAN- PRECARIOUS JOURNEYS, an installation that previews at Senate House as part of the national BEING HUMAN festival this Thurs 17th Nov , then has its drinks,lecture and launch at St James Hatcham gallery, New Cross, this Friday 18th at 7pm, then runs over the weekend until Sunday night at Hatcham Gallery.
I filmed with ITN up to the end of Calais Jungle, and also of course with my own crew. Whats happened now is that:
– The French set up registraton for everyone in the Jungle but omitted to tell anyone that (except the world’s media who turned up with their expensive OB vans, scarily long lenses and Dad’s Army style tin helmets, in prodigious numbers, ) .. registration was off site and may of h young people especailly the girls are intimidated by such processes, and journeys, and crowds.. barriers crasjed several times, dangerous organisation. So the result was that many but not all of the lone under 18s registered – also some were turned away as queues too long, then came back later in the week to find registration point had vanished. Others never got there at all.
– During the week of Oct 24th, the French bussed about 4000 adults and fmailies to other areas of France (this doesn’t mean they have the right to asylum in France, but they will at least be housed while their applicatons are considered.
– Meanwhile the under 18s were gradually moved ito the ‘container’ area of camp as the rest of camp was burnt down aorund them. The containers in one way are better- dry, and more importantly, everyone s finally LOGGED and their NAME TAKEN DOWN so they EXIST (HURRAH).. But there were up to 20 in a container and no heating , also no food in that enclosure, kids forced to queue for makeshift food distributed on road outside. Plus those who ahd not manahed to register had to sleep in the very cold and foggy dunes outside the fence of the containers as their tents all gone so they had nothing at all. Have pics of that. Heartbreaking.
– Our lawyers and other lawyers have been mantaining contact with their clients, and because of this , several hundred children have now got to the UK under Dubs Amendment or Dublin 3. (mainly the latter).
However what this process threw up was that contrary to the HO saying originaly there were no lone under 18s in camp, then that there were 387, there were finally counted as 1562- and President Hollande raitifed this when he annouced it publicly and said to the UK, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER AND HELP- as at least est. 700 of these have the legal right to come to UK under Dublin 3.
– I filmed the kids we had got to know well, and we watched as they were bussed off from the containers end of last week, to other parts of France, into childrens’ accommodation.
– On each bus were two UK “Detention officers” (guess what, its illegal to detain under 18s) whose job was apparetly to ‘assess their cases” while on the bus! The idea that 2 low-level security officers make life-changing assessments of 50 childrens’ lives/ages/ legal cases and so on, without interpreters and without independent witneses or social workers present, contravenes about 15 protocols and is actionable. In the UK the assessment process would last for weeks – It wouldnt happen to cold tired and traunatised kids on a bus journey to who knows where (some were on buses for 15 hours) and they’d had no food that day before they left, they were freezing and hungry.
– The job of the campaign and the film is now to keep tracj fo the kids and put pressure both governmental and legal on the UK govt to properly and honourbaly settle all the cases, and film/record this process too.. Thats why I called the film A CASE TO ANSWER- it will come to this, and while its a less dramatic stage of the filming, its equally as improtant, as whatever is established with the Calais chilren will in many ways provide a precedent for other conflictual situations in which the remaining 85,000 unaccompanied refugee children in Europe, find themselves.
Project- wise, I ned to fim the legal and political phase now which is less expensie and intense than the Jungle but still a cost nonetheess. I aim to finish the film by Xmas or not long after, and it be used as above to support the ongoing battle to highlight the larger issues across Eurpe of such children lacsking support and representation.
In short- We won inasmuch as we got the kids listed and named and France acknowledged their exitence.
The ongoing fight is that just because the kids are temporarly hosued elsewhere in France, this must not be swept under the carpet nor must they be quietly deported back to their countries, or cynically and wrongly age -assessed, or that the UK do yet another dirty deal with France to offshore the issue.
I know a lot else is gong on to distract people right now, but please all share this page among all your contacts, and ask them to contribute to funding at calais.gebnet.co.uk
In these difficult times, take heart from the fact we ran a campaign and won quite a lot – hard hard work and stressful and not over yet, but did it with your fundng support and your encouragement.
Lets keep going and achieve even more- this film will stand as a test case for all the other children and young people alone in Europe.
Dont let them be forgotten. Give them a voice. Thanks xx
Eritreans yesterday illegally imprisoned in the Containers. Currently pawns is a post-Brexit slanging match between UK and France. But they are happy to see us anyway and know that wherever they are sent today, we will still fight their case. Please fund the film and campaign
Not giving up. And we won’t give up on you.
Containers were dangerous night before last, one of their friends badly stabbed. So they all went out of containers to sleep in the Ethiopian church. ( Built by them and by volunteers. Now in a toxic watseland full of rats as camp been taken down). These are 9-16 year olds. And then the UK Border Force arrives next morning – a mere one year late- and says ” we’re in charge of them, you can’t speak to them”. Yeah sure: You were also in charge when two died and 42 were raped, and in charge when they were starved and stabbed. They had no food in the containers yesterday, and they were penned in. (Illegal for under 18s.) The Home Office and the UK Border Force has a lot to answer for. And we will take these cases through the courts. Every last one.