Powerful meeting on Human Rights in the Calais camp earlier today

“These are your wars not ours”

Every week in Calais a meeting is held for community leaders to come together and express what’s on their minds.  Today the subject was Human Rights.  One of our long term volunteers, Annie, attended and witnessed a beautiful, harrowing and powerful outpouring of emotion.

Also in attendance was a representative from the UNHCR – a rare sighting in Calais as the French have not recognised the area as an official ‘refugee camp’ meaning the UNHCR are unable to provide any aid or assistance.

Question were posed such as “Are human rights and international law for everyone or just for some?”

Another leader wanted to know “Where is the humanity when the police teargas me and hit me and shoot me and let fascists hurt me? All I want is asylum”

And the Syrian community representative summed up the mood when he spoke with great power and emotion saying “Why are we are here? It is not our choice, these are your wars not ours. We are now in the Jungle, we are seen as animals. As humans, our rights are to live peacefully anywhere, yet here they restrict our rights in order to “protect” their roads and borders. A solution can be found if France wanted to find one, but they use us to pressure Britain”

The UNHCR rep could only say that they share the same concerns and the situation needed to be solved at a political rather than humanitarian level.

As they left the meeting, one Syrian man made a desperate final plea “Please if you cannot help us, don’t hurt us”.


Featured image by Dan Lucchesi

We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

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