Update 8th May 2017

Dear all

Thanks for reading and supporting to date!

You’ll be pleased to know the end of the film is in sight- we want to release it for Refugee Week (June 19-25th) and before the results if UK High Court cases being brought against the Home Office on Dubs, and Dublin 3 , and I am on it day and night as ever. Also pursuing a shorter  TV version. And continue to be in touch with countless of the young people and supporting them with phones, phone credit, clothes, referral and advice on their cases and just being someone they can call or text at any time when things get tough, which sadly is a lot..
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Things have become unbelievably bad for the ex-Calais kids. As you all know, very few were taken by the UK the week after the Jungle came down, then the UK claimed that they were all in ‘appropriate accommodation” in France over the winter (they weren’t ) and brought a small number more.

Since then the Home Office have completely redefined the Dubs Amendment twice (in November 2016 and February 2017 ) both times cynically to reduce the number they night have to be responsible for form a respectable and do-able flow to a pathetic trickle – then they tried to vote it out via the Commons altogether.

Meanwhile the young people have either left completely- and are living precarious lives with no protection at all, right outside any system- or they have gone back to Calais and facing massive police crackdown and being effectively criminalised. There have been more deaths of refugees- and I found this particularly hard to deal with as I’m sure any of us would, seeing a memorial at Norrent for a young man “beaten to death by traffickers” and in Calais graveyard, a whole row of thirty refugee graves without even names, just marked by numbers. At least nine of these were children and young people.  To die without a name, and lie alone in that rainy cold Calais graveyard with no-one to come and mourn your passing or your sorrow, is a n unbearable thing.

We have filmed more in the area beyond the old Jungle- which young people we’re working with, have to cross- we hike with them over a strip of scrub and sand dunes, all the way trapped on the wrong side of the border fence, under the faint glare of the security lights and the regularly flashing lights of the CRS and gendarmes. It’s scary for us, but this is what these kids do every night to get to where they sleep.  Leaving them and heading back the two miles, we’re inevitably picked up by heavily armed CRS (paid for with your tax dollar, dear UK citizens) and have to scramble out of that situation.

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We have filmed where children are living rough, and not able to be fed since the Calais Mayor banned anyone from being able to get fed in the Calais industrial zone. We have
also been to film in another refuge a distance away from Calais where girls and boys are surviving, though still sleeping rough at night.

We’re living in an age when its ok for upward of 600 minors to be back in Calais enduring a life many of us would not provide to a dog, with that considered okay because its part of some idiotic ‘punitive’ measure by our government, to not be a ‘pull factor for others’ …
When in the name of God did we start we deny children a bed and food, or any kind of medical care “in case it encourages others.” We don’t say this to UK citizens in need.  Social services or hospitals  don’t turn away people “in case it encourages others.”  When is it okay that they sleep on the dirt floor or am empty house, wth rat droppings, no heating, no light and no bed and no food? And regularly arrested by police and held for 4 days for no reason? When is it okay they’re trafficked and abused, and live in unstable and threatened communities in the woods, controlled often by people who mistreat them ?  Please somebody tell me when that’s ever okay.

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Do please as ever pass this on if you can bear it and know that the end is in sight. Ive interviewed Lord Dubs now and the key players in the UK. I’m editing all the time, and  working towards commentary, sound edit , sound mix, fact check, grade and all the other delivery elements which sadly cost money.

This cost more time and money than I thought but it is beginning of the end phase now and I can never ever thank those of you who have supported the film. Whenever it seems too much or I’m too tired or the situation feels to dangerous, I think of all of you and feel a big responsibility  and also a warmth and support that keeps me on it. !

And we have got some kids to UK- and others in at least some kind of contact network and protection, they know theyre not entirely alone.

Future hope- 3 High Court cases- ours wth Duncan Lewis (37 individual child cases that should have been accepted as Dubs)  Safe Passage (faster and more efficient processes needed for Dublin 3 kids)  and Help Refugees  (Home Office unlawfully limited the terms of Dubs)

Plus us seems Macron may re-negotiate the le Touquet agreement that allows us to have out border at Calais, and demand better UK provision for the minors.

If you can support me in this very last lap, great.

As ever its www.calais.gebnet.co.uk please forward.

Also please those of you who funded me, let me know if you DON’T want your name on the credits, I’ll be getting to that stage soon!!! Total so far 8 months – thought it would be a couple of weeks only  couple of weeks! of weeks. But it matters, as this is the real, lived, hard edge physical and visceral suffering caused by ‘policy’ and ‘’pull factor’ and ‘Brexit’ and ‘walls’ and it say something absolutely shameful about a western society- a society that will use children and youths’ health and safety as bargain counters in their nationalistic border game.  The kids are cornered as thoroughly as I was when I went to their coastal tents.. What possible options do they now have?
Except if we fight for them-  and, oddly, for ourselves.
Sue xx

Author: Sue

Sue Clayton is a feature and documentary film maker. She has worked on various child and youth asylum projects over 15 years, consulting and producing news stories for ITV and BBC . Her award-winning independent film Hamedullah: The Road Home www.hamedullahtheroadhome.com has been screened at over 200 activist and debate events, and is regularly shown in UK Immigration Courts and in the Upper Tribunal cases as evidence that forced removal of young people to Kabul is not, as the Home Office says, safe. She is also creating an archive of interviews with young asylum seekers in the UK see www.bigjourneys.org and she works with a ESRC-funded research team researching best outcomes for young asylum seekers www.uncertainjourneys.org.uk

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