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UPDATE – FIRST DAY OF CALAIS EVICTIONS

UPDATE – FIRST DAY OF CALAIS EVICTIONS
 
– The French government started registering residents of the ‘Jungle’ and began the process of taking people on busses to accommodation centres across France. The queues for registration began as early at 4am.
– In total approximately 1,900 people left the ‘Jungle’, much less than the 3,000 that was initially planned for today.
– In camp the atmosphere has been generally calm. People have left Calais voluntarily; many have been waiting for this moment for months and are happy to finally have the chance to stay in France.
– There was some kettling by police at the registration centre – which the additional media presence did not help to calm the situation.
– The safe and appropriate accommodation for the unaccompanied minors did not seem to materialise. Registration was chaotic, with no children being registered for transfer to the UK
– There are still unaccompanied girls in the camp, who are highly vulnerable.
KEVIN CATKINS – Save The Children
‘It is extremely welcome to see vulnerable children who have been trapped in Calais reaching safe haven in the UK over the last week. But, as night falls in Calais tonight, we are deeply concerned for the fate of hundreds of children who remain and who do not know where they will sleep tonight and have no information on what tomorrow will bring.
It is unacceptable that the French operation to demolish the camp, which has been planned for weeks, now risks putting vulnerable children at greater risk.’
LIST OF YOUNGEST UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN
– Today together with The Unofficial Womens and Childrens centre and using our census data, we sent a list of 49 children under the age of 13 who would qualify to be brought to safety in the UK under the Lord Alf Dubs Amendment to the wonderful Stella Creasy.
Labour MP STELLA CREASY told the Home Secretary:
– That children on the list were not able to register at the warehouse and were still being ignored.
– That three of them are under the age of 11
– She offered to share the details with Rudd, and asked for assurances that children will not be put in detention centres.
Home Secretary AMBER RUDD response:
– “We are making sure children are looked after in a proper way that you would expect from a compassionate nation,” she says.
– She said the UK Home Office had 36 staff-members on the ground, trying to find the youngest children, and was surprised at Stella Creasy’s information.
– ‘There is no ‘them and us’ feeling on the ground; we all have the same aims, we want to get the youngest children out, there is nothing but good will and good intent on this side.’
Former Shadow Home Secretary, YVETTE COOPER:
– Cooper, citing Help Refugees, voiced the concern about the risk of trafficking and disappearance of children.
– She asks for the French government to ensure children, especially girls and young women, have appropriate social workers and youth volunteers to look after them in the container camps.
 
Rudd says the French government has pledged to maintain a secure area of the camp for children and minors – we hope she comes through on her promises tomorrow.
 
Photograph: Rob Pinney