Calais Update – 26 October 2016


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

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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 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 and she works with a ESRC-funded research team researching best outcomes for young asylum seekers