French authorities have now demolished the Calais refugee camp and evicted most of the inhabitants. Despite authorities hailing the demolition as a success, there were incredibly distressing images of fires and bulldozers tearing through the camp.
In light of this, the UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd gave a statement to the Commons last week which you can watch here: https://goo.gl/QbQrF3
As of last Monday, the UK Government have transferred 200 children to the UK. This includes 60 young girls under threat of sexual exploitation who came here under the Dubs amendment — the first children to do so. This came about as a result of an amendment to the Immigration Bill tabled by my Labour colleague Lord Dubs, who himself was a refugee after fleeing Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. The Dubs amendment, unlike the existing Dublin Regulation, allows vulnerable unaccompanied children to seek refuge in the UK even if they do not currently have a family member here. Until last Monday, the Government had made absolutely no effort to bring any children here under the amendment which has been in effect for months.
This progress is therefore welcome and I am of course particularly pleased to see the Government finally making an effort to bring children here through the Dubs amendment but, at the time of writing, there are still hundreds of children in Calais eligible to come here, and many thousands across Europe. Indeed, the 1,500 capacity container camp in Calais is full and there are disturbing reports of children sleeping in the burnt out ruins of the jungle camp.
My colleague Stella Creasy is encouraging people to write to the French Interior Minister to demand they work with UK authorities to ensure children are processed safely, quickly and with minimum stress. You can find a template here: http://www.workingforwalthamstow.org.uk/les_enfants_du_calais
Since the Calais camp is now demolished, my colleagues and I will continue to pressure the Government into accepting all child refugees who are eligible to come here.
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