France’s Supreme Court Rules Against State in Calais Court Case

The ruling today (Monday 31st July 2017) in France’s Conseil d’Etat rejected the appeals by the French authorities and reinstated the state’s obligation to install water points, toilets, showers, daily outreach for minors and departures to accommodation centres from Calais.

“Inhumane treatment”

The courts ruled: “the living conditions of migrants reveal a lack of action on the part of public authorities, which can be said to expose the persons concerned to inhumane or degrading treatment and therefore constitutes a serious and unlawful breach of fundamental rights.”

We’re delighted the appeal was defeated. Together with all our partner organisations, we will be working in Calais every day to make sure local authorities adhere to the ruling, and start providing services every human deserves.

Still, no provision will be made for the distribution of aid from the state. Help Refugees and our partners L’Auberge des Migrants, Refugee Community Kitchen and Utopia56  Please help us support the 600-700 refugees in Calais still in need of aid by donating to our fundraiser for the region here.

You can find out more about Help Refugees’ work in Calais here.

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Our August Supper Club with Welcome Kitchen

On Thursday 24th August, we are hosting a very special Supper Club at Second Home Spitalfields, in association with our friends at Welcome Cinema and Kitchen.

The talented refugee chefs from Welcome Kitchen, will be cooking up an eclectic feast with delicious dishes from Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria, the Ivory Coast and Ethiopia.

Half of the places at the table will be given, at no charge, to local refugees and asylum seekers.

Tickets for the evening are £30 and we are asking people to cover the cost of their own meal with an option to contribute to the ticket for a local refugee or asylum seeker.

Additional funds raised will be donated to Welcome Cinema and Kitchen – a monthly evening of entertainment and conversation giving refugees and asylum seekers in London the chance to connect over a common love of great food.

To get your ticket click here.

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“Like Living in Hell”; Police Attack Migrants in Calais.

Children are being abused on a daily basis by the police in Calais according to Human Rights Watch‘s latest report. The heartbreaking truth about what is going on today. In Europe.
To help fund our Mobile Youth Centre, providing daily outreach and support to minors in Calais click here:

With thanks to partners Refugee Youth ServiceL’auberge des migrants international Refugee Community Kitchen & Utopia 56

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The story of Hozaifa, a Syrian refugee who stayed in his home country to continue his education, but was subsequently paralysed by an air strike attack on his way home from school, tells the struggle faced by many families currently living in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

Eighteen-year-old Hozaifa greeted a group of three volunteers from our partners Salam LADC’s. “As-salamu alaykum,” he said in traditional greeting before extending his hand to shake theirs. His eyes were beaming above a smile of naturally straight teeth. Despite the discomfort it caused, he leaned up in bed as far as he could to show that their presence was welcome.

Hozaifa is paralysed from the waist down and as the fresh scarring along his spine indicated, he was still in pain from his third back surgery completed just two weeks ago. As he told the story of his journey from Syria, his four younger siblings filtered in and out of the room. Mum and Dad sat on the floor rug.

In 2011 as violence erupted, Hozaifa’s father fled their home in Idlib, Syria just north of where a chemical attack killed dozens of civilians this past April, to establish a new safe home for his family. In such a situation, it is typical for the male of the household to move ahead first to sort out all the unknowns.

In 2013, Mom and the four younger siblings moved to reunite with Dad in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon. Safety was rapidly deteriorating with bombings on the rise which led to items of necessity rapidly inflating in price and life in general becoming much harder.

Hozaifa stayed behind in Syria to continue his education. As he told this part of the story, his words were saturated with passion over his favourite subjects of Arabic Literature, English and Civics. He paused from the painful narrative to discuss his love of law, former desire to be a doctor, and tangential joys in the fields of math and physics. With the emphasis placed on learning and his new desire to be an agricultural architect, it’s no surprise Hozaifa would opt to stay in school and continue learning rather than to run from the only path he thought led to a bright future.

One day in 2016, his hopes and dreams were decimated as he was riding home from school on the back of a motorbike with his cousin and a bomb dropped from a plane blew them off the ground. He’s not sure if it was the explosion shockwave, shrapnel, or the building that fell on him, but some force of those actions hammered his spinal cord to a functioning halt.

He had two surgeries in Syria before he could reunite with his family and has since been mostly resigned to bed. He can’t go to school because he can’t sit up yet or find transportation to get him there and private tutors are cost prohibitive.

His mother desperately wants to provide her son with the good education he thirsts for, and offer him a beneficial activity to focus on besides his mobile phone, but they just don’t have the money. The barren concrete structure they live in more closely resembles a far from incomplete construction that has been squatted in.

A single light hangs from the only thin wire snaking up the wall of Hozaifa’s room. There is no insulation or glass in the window frames, which welcomes in the biting cold of snowy mountain winters. The rotting wood framed threshold is indicative of the water that pours through the roof when it rains.

This half-finished shell of a structure costs the family $150/month which might not be pricey by western standards, but it is half of the father’s monthly salary earned as a gas station attendant. Hozaifa needs diapers, antiseptics, and nutritional supplements to help combat the weight he is losing, but this family are struggling to pay for all these needs, as well as food for the rest of the family.

While the family likes Lebanon, they don’t feel safe or secure here. They are guests in a country where they are not allowed to work. Transient populations are constantly shifting in tents and settlements. The family agree they will endure this life in the short term, but their sights remain set on the UK and Norway, places Hozaifa dreams of one day going to school.

For now, love is what has been getting the family through tough times. In addition to the strength derived from the tight knit family bonds, others have been willing to help out where they can. When the family was unable to pay for the third surgery, a Swedish journalist who had previously heard Hozaifa’s story stepped in to foot the bill.

Hozaifa’s mother, as she poured hot chai for her guests, jubilantly gave thanks for this woman who was even there in the waiting room during surgery hugging, squeezing and comforting her. She left additional money for some medications and later sent a laptop which is helping Hozaifa learn English among other things.

Find out how to get involved with our work here.

Please support the amazing work of Salam LADC and our partners in Lebanon by donating here.

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Sara is a Syrian child refugee. She was three-years-old when her family left Syria a year ago. When she lived there with her father, she couldn’t leave the house because it was too dangerous.

Her father, Zain, said this about her Sara’s childhood: “She lived it inside the house but not outside, she rarely went outside to streets when we were in Syria”.

Sara is traumatised by what she has seen and heard. She tells us that when she hears a loud noise or strong sound around her she worries it’s the sound of a bomb and she becomes scared.

Volunteers have worked with Sara to help her process this trauma, and have given her a safe space to have fun and thrive. She comes to the child friendly spaces in Athens every week, and has fun with children her own age.

Please help us support more children like Sara, by donating here.

Incredible photography by Abdulazez Dukhan from Through Refugee Eyes

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Vulnerable refugees and migrants continue to be treated as scapegoats by the Italian government.

Arriving in Sicily after days at sea on unseaworthy boats, those rescued are filled with relief, happy to be the lucky ones who survived the treacherous journey.

A discriminatory process

Unfortunately for many there awaits an unjust discriminatory process, whereby the Italian police block many nationalities from exercising their right to seek asylum.

Instead of being given somewhere safe to sleep, they are turned directly from the port to the streets, with a notice saying they have 7 days to leave the country by their own means.

It is then left to volunteers to help them find their way, providing legal assistance, finding dormitories which can host them, and providing hot meals.

This is one of the many things that Porco Rosso, one of the organisations we are supporting, are doing to help vulnerable migrants and refugees arriving in Sicily.

Please donate here to help us support refugees in Italy.

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A new report, launched in the House of Lords today by Baroness Butler-Sloss and Rt Hon Fiona Mactaggart, confirmed that the failure of the British and French governments to protect child refugees, and offer safe passage is “unquestionably” fuelling exploitative smuggling and trafficking by organised crime groups.

Thank you to the Inquiry chairs and to the Human Trafficking Foundation who invited Help Refugees to give evidence for this report.

Launching the report, Rt Hon Fiona Mactaggard said “The UK government are colluding to the torture of children in France if they keep using British taxpayer money to pay French Police to brutalise unaccompanied children under the guise of border security agreements⁠⁠⁠⁠”

The UK Children’s Commissioner Ann Longfield also stated that the Home Office actions of abandoning children in Calais is against their most basic needs and best interests: “Clearly being left in the middle of Calais is failing on virtually every front there is”.

We cannot stand by and let this happen. Children are effectively hunted in Calais and the UK government is doing nothing to protect them.

Right now there are 200 children on their own in Calais sleeping rough and facing police violence. There are thousands more in Greece and Italy and no effort is being made to identify them and take them to safety.

The only way we can keep these children fed, hydrated, and warm enough in the night to sleep is through your support. Please help us help them by donating here:

You can read the full report here.

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Resident Advisor is hosting a party to raise funds for Help Refugees on Thursday, July 20th, at Corsica Studios.
The lineup of the Choose Love event includes Graded founder Midland, much-loved duo Simian Mobile Disco, Metalheadz legend DJ Flight, NTS regular Moxie, London duo Secretsundaze and Manchester bass head Madam X. A couple of very special guests from some of the UK’s best labels will be announced on the night. Monologues founder Ben Gomori, who will be throwing a number of other parties yet to be announced under the CHOOSE LOVE banner, will also play.

All funds raised (including booking fees) will go towards Help Refugees, which provides emergency aid and vital services to those affected by the global refugee crisis, which currently impacts approximately 65.3 million people.

RA x Choose Love
A Night in aid of Help Refugees
Thursday 20 July 
2200 – 0400
Corsica Studios, London
Simian Mobile Disco DJ
DJ Flight
Madam X
Ben Gomori 
+ Special Guests
£6 advance / £9 on the door
Tickets: here
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What’s happening to refugees in Greece, particularly on the island of Chios, is dreadful. And it seems as though Europe is turning their back on the crisis here.

Chios is at breaking point. 3,000 people are penned in on the island, half in a makeshift camp, living in festival tents, the rest are in a razor wire topped detention centre.

Kamal, from Syria, has been stuck on Chios for 3 months with his daughter. She is 19 years old. He is blind and has diabetes.

They’ve been stuck in a tent with temperatures of 42 degrees, with no fan, no information and no options. His wife and children are in Germany but his daughter has not been given permission to leave the island.

Our partners at the are working with Kamal to provide him with legal information and care. They’ve been working on the island to help help those who have been left behind by a system supposedly designed to help them.

Please support their incredible work, providing information and care to refugees where there is none, by donating to our fundraiser for the project.

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Last year Amber Rudd and our government stepped up, momentarily, and committed to the Dubs Amendment. A bill offering refuge and a future to the most vulnerable unaccompanied refugee children in Europe.

The Home Office committed to talking to local councils to find out how many children we had the capacity to help. But when the consultation was done, local councils said the process was “chaotic”, “wholly inadequate”, “incorrect and incompetent” and “cursory to the point [they] didn’t even recognise what it was”.

What was the result?

The result… a cap far lower than that of Britain’s total capacity.

The government failed to do their job fairly and responsibly, and let down refugee children in Europe and the British public.

Because of the closure, thousands of unaccompanied children have been left to fend for themselves, vulnerable to abuse and trafficking.

As we wait for the decision from the High Court, we’re calling for donations to help the children who wait with us.

Please donate if you believe Britain can do more to help child refugees in Europe.

You can find out more about Help Refugees’ advocacy over the Dubs Amendment and our court case with the Home Office here.

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