UPDATE 14 November 2016

Dear all
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.

So…
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

Eritrean kids

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

14947480_357978991218735_6997504426877427448_nNot 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.

“A Million Thanks”

Dear all
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
https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=10204

Nov 18th in a new gallery piece in St James Hatcham, Deptford, as part of the Being Human Festival
http://www.gold.ac.uk/news/goldsmiths-at-being-human-2016/

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”

UPDATE Friday 28 October

Back to Calais tomorrow Saturday first thing!  Filming what has happened to the camp and trying to make sure all the young people we work with are ok.- prior to legal fight to get their cases resolved properly.

The camp is now greatly reduced, and there are still  dangers for the 150 or so kids who have not yet been rehoused into the containers . But good progress overall:  In 17 days since I launched this, Ive shot a vast amount- about 50% of what I need for the film, got reports and material 3 times onto ITN, been interviewed on Sky News and Telegraph – (both available online) got 10 lawyers and 11 social workers doing assessments in the camp, and WE HAVE OUR FIRST KIDS NOW IN THE UK!!! Thanks to you. The fight soon moves to the courts to get all the kids who are LEGALLY ENTITLED out of the Jungle and to UK where most should have been months ago, if the Home Office had done its job properly and UK Parliament had more fully supported Dubs first time around  xxx

Update 27 October

Thanks everyone for amazing support. Problems last night in Calais camp as more of the wooden buidlings were burnt down- some of it is for fire and warmth, some in anger and protest, some is things just spreading- since part of the camp was destroyed in March, people more pushed in together and one shack fire will then take out several more. There is now confusion re the containers- they hold 1500 people and now are supposed to be for unaccompanied kids only – but there are 300 kids not in there yet and these 300 have been displaced by fires. Only consolation is that this is now a big news story and the French authorities at least are takng the issue to heart and are responding to these issues better and faster, Worst of all is UK who, while enjoying the fact that the French deal with our dirty work (ie run the UK border at Calais) – have helpfully responded by sending…. TWO police officers. Wow that will really help, Think Glasto for angry displaced poor desperate people, think 100 or more CRS and Gendarmes, and oh yes, 2 British cops. Plod. Plod Plod. UK have just signed another cheque for £40 million, plus the £11 million wall, plus we pay for the CRS. and now – two cops!

Calais Update – 26 October 2016

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Full update later today- just back in UK- the camp is closing – adults and families are being given the chance to go to other parts of France where they will be housed. (However its not explained to them that this doesnt mean their asylum case has been accepted longer term). The under 18s are being registered, wrist-tagged and then returned to a particular section of camp (previously used by adults and families waiting to be housed) which isn’t a perfect venue for lone minors as camp destroyed and protests happen literally inches from the fence between them and rest of camp- but its a lot safer and warmer than where they were before (-cold wet tents and no food -) – and from this venue the Home Office will assess their cases. Hence the very great need for UK lawyers to be attendng to these cases and why Im so proud of Duncan Lewis Solicitors for sending their young pro bono lawyers in such great numbers to take on these clients in very difficult and often dangerous conditions.

So far the French Prefecture has said that 800 lone minors have registred and accepted as at least potential minors (the HO will of course age-dispute a lot of them further) , and the queues to register are being closed early every day- ie there are stil several hundred more waiting to registered. Been racing around trying to get them to register and not run away in fear- after the last camp destruction 120-130 vanished. As we know there are 1200 minors in camp it is overall encouraging- the French have clearly responded to the constant media and political pressure coming from many of us to protect this group. (There are about 50 or 60 international broadcast and other crews in Calais last 2 days and ‘minors’ question is now raised by pretty much all of them). The next stage will be the legal fight to make sure the Home Office does not limit the number we accept for political reasons but assesses every single last case fairly under Dubs Amendment and Dublin 3. xxx

Calais Update – 23 October 2016

STOP PRESS A NUMBER OF OUR CASES GOT ACCEPTED AND MADE IT TO UK YESTERDAY! UNDER DUBS AMENDMENT! ABOUT TIME!! HAD NOT BEEN USED BEFORE FOR CALAIS KIDS> WE HAVE SIGNED UP NEARLY 100 OF THOSE I FOUND > HOPE THIS WILL BE LEGAL PRECEDENT !! PLEASE KEEP FUNDING US !!!!

URGENT CALAIS UPDATE 22 OCT

Dear all
Thanks again for your amazing support and donations. And sorry my last couple of updates were a bit demented: I was trying to further the campaign with 9 lawyers and 6 social worker colleagues that i invited out here (more below) and shoot with a new crew, and were doing day and night shoots. Update from camp is that last Tues evening the CRS in riot shields came into camp (we filmed it) and hammered notices Nazi style on doors of all tiny shops and cafes (which are ESSENTIAL for everyone- batteries, SIM cards, basic food if people have money to buy, eg 30 cent home made naan bread ) saying in 5 pages of legalese French that all of them must close in 48 hours. So French Govt starving people out. We suspected there would be a big protest after that so stayed through the night- sure enough desperate attempts by hundreds to get up to the UK road, repelled by about 14 CRS vans with tear gas and batons and riot shields. . (All paid for by us, dear reader, under UK-France le Touquet deal where the French do UK dirty work. Gassing children on our tax dollar. Nice. ….I have pic of 12 year old after being gassed. Horrible. ) . So hence a lot going on.

Now had a couple days back in UK to recoup and to chase the UK end of the story. As well as our film, and that I managed to get the story twice on ITN from Calais and interviewed by Sky News, I also got some UK documents leaked which were ITN main story last Weds 6.30pm and second main story Weds 10pm news. (you can google my name and calais and those will i hope come up ) Basically saying that Home Office are so under-prepared that they are appealing to charities and untrained volunteers to help. Clearly if the publicity hadn’t started this would never have reached the news. Now HO are on the back foot. They had a year to process Calais kids cases and did nothing at all. While they did nothing, many suffered and two died. I have evidence which Im putting out on ITN next week that the HO insistence that there are no places in UK for these kids is completely untrue- foster parents are ready and prepped to received them. Foster agencies say Its the cost and the fact HO may look ‘soft” that is the only prohibitor.

Now back in camp which is a sorry place. The numbers dropping all the time,, not in a good way. NUMBERS: The French say they can rehouse when numbers drop from 10,000 to 7000- academics among us, please lets write about the NUMBERS game.. Its inhuman. I still can’t believe on Monday 24th (TWO DAYS- EEK) they will raze the entire camp and neatly get 7000 people including nearly 1000 minors onto busses and disperse them across France . (Though our hotel here is entirely booked out with gendarmes from elsewhere all staying here so maybe they will) . Monday will be a very big day.

THE PROBLEM IS THERE ARE est. 1000 kids. 387 were named 6 weeks ago by one group Safe Passage. . I have have found 116 more, and will find more this weekend. Another group has found over 100. But HO refuses to acknowledge more than the 387. It is defined that at least 400 have the legal right to come to UK under EU Dublin 3 clause, and we are doing an emergency appeal to take the rest under Dubs Amendment. PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR MP and anyone else NOW demanding that the HO take the time (they’ve had a year and did nothing) to register and properly and humanely assess the 1000 kids, not just send a handful to UK for photo-ops and starve out the rest. Please anyone who knows JeremCorbyn speak to him as he is fully on board with this.

(Speaking of photo ops, the much disputed ‘older kid’ in the Sun etc was the 40- year old interpreter… )

More numbers… As this is a campaign not only a film, you will be pleased to know that as well as the 387 children Safe Passage identified in the last months I have been able to locate and identify a further 116 (and expect to find more this weekend. ) Of these 116, because I have been lucky enough to get Duncan Lewis solicitors involved (And they’ve been here in force, young amazing team signing up my finds asap), then amazing support from Social Workers without Borders, also sending team soy volunteer professional soc workers, everyone doing it at own cost) we have been able to sign up and have social worker assessed, for Best Interests, 42 clients and 30 of these are already in to the Home Office as emergency appeals. If they are not accepted we will pursue further legal action.

Problem is the Safe Passage list , great though it was, was seen as a definitive list and the govt very happy to address only it and do a numbers deal – eg they say 300 would be ‘a nice number” and this ignores the fact that there are 700 more, with a VERY STRONG LEGAL CASE to come to Uk (see my prior emails on this.) Its not charity, its not a nice number, ts the HO blatantly ignoring minors who have a strong case to be here under Dubs and Dublin 3, leaving them in cold tents with no food or power, no-one registering their names, and no process at all until last week.

I know where more of the kids are then the HO does. This is not right. I can only do so much by Monday when the camp s et to close. Only about 1/3 of the kids have mobiles. Many will be lost who had the legal right to be here. remember Calais is not an official camp Its literally about a a 100 young volunteers, mainly untrained, and no infrastructure AT ALL. And now about 15 film crews who are just headline grabbing and ignoring this key story.

I hope we will have got about 100 more lawyered up and can find a way to maintain contact after the mayhem that all be Monday.
But I NEED YOUR HELP.

Please viral this. Please write to your MP. Please send to all your contacts and ask them to give as generously as you have already done.

This is the greatest human rights abuse from UK govt Ive seen in my lifetime. Please use all social media and alt news networks to help me get this out. and get ore people to contribute.

We now have sites

http://calais.gebnet.co.uk/urgent-appeal YOU AN DONATE ON IT

and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/calaischildren/?pnref=story

Will update the text on both later today, but youre welcome to fwd this email to your trusted lists.

And see my report on http://www.itv.com/news/2016-10-14/calais-children-new-home-in-uk/

Plus interviewed on http://news.sky.com/story/beautiful-day-for-jungle-camp-children-as-they-reach-uk-10621441

Alos see http://www.gold.ac.uk/news/calais-mission/

and for info http://news.sky.com/story/mps-and-peers-demand-action-on-calais-jungle-migrant-camp-10625311

Love to all.

Sue xxxx