The UK government promised to bring child refugees from the Calais Jungle to the UK so they could start a new life, now 100’s of children are stuck in France as the UK has rejected their appeals to be brought to the UK.
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They have been told instead to apply for asylum in France, but many of the children have families in the UK and want to reach them and get to safety.
In October 2016 over 1,900 children were evicted from the Calais Jungle, since then one in three has gone missing, preferring to risk the precarious journey to the UK on their own rather than face being held in centres across France. For those who did agree to go to centres and wait to be brought to the UK it has been an agonising delay.
Samoo, one of the children taken to a centre after the eviction of the Calais Jungle s said ” The British government told us that we want to send you to a safe place, then after that we will take all of you to England. We said okay, we trust you. We were brought here and have waited for a month and today suddenly they came and they said British people don’t want more refuges you must stay here in France but we don’t want to stay here, we have family in the UK. They gave us a warning that in one week you we will have to apply for asylum here.”
Now lawyers acting for the children have urged them not to run away and are seeking to legally challenge the Home Office because the decision to not allow them into the UK were given verbally and no written reason has been provided.
Toufique Hossain, the director of public law at the UK-based Duncan Lewis solicitors, who is representing a large number of asylum seeker children dispersed across France, said he and his team had received reports on Friday from more than 12 children they are representing, all of whom are at different centres.
“From the reports we have received it seems as if this is an organised operation between the Home Office and the French authorities. The children have been told verbally that their asylum claims have not succeeded, but they have not been given any reasons why in writing. This is absolutely shocking.”
Hossain added: “The children are very upset but we are telling them not to run away. These children are very vulnerable. We are now looking to see what we can do legally to challenge the fact that the Home Office have failed to provide us with written reasons why they have rejected the children’s asylum claims.”
We are demanding that the Home Office immediately transfers these children to to the UK, where they can be reunited with their families and start the legal asylum process.
Additional Information for Petition from the Guardian Newspaper