Minister of the Interior
18 October 2016
Dear Minister Cazeneuve,
We are a group of citizens who have gathered in Edinburgh to show our concern for the well being and protection of the people currently in the Calais refugee camp.
We understand that France has already ordered the demolition of the Calais Camp. We are writing to urge you to delay any demolition until such time as all of the more than 1,000 unaccompanied refugee children currently there have either been admitted to the UK or they have been welcomed into appropriate facilities where they will be treated with respect and dignity and where their needs will be met.
We understand that a handful of children who have a legal right to asylum in the UK are at last being brought to the UK and reunited with their families this week. But we are keenly aware that hundreds of others are being left behind.
We are also at this time writing to the UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd and calling on her to immediately admit all those children who have a legal right under the Dublin agreement to asylum in the UK and to honour UK promises to admit at least 3,000 other unaccompanied children from across Europe without delay.
We are aware that 129 children went missing from Calais when the French government demolished some sections of the camp earlier this month and that at least three children have died attempting to enter the UK..
These children have already undergone unimaginable hardships in fleeing mostly from war and natural disasters, as well as extreme poverty. Having read credible reports in the media and from volunteers who have travelled to the of the use of pepper spray and tear gas and the burning and bulldozing of makeshift homes and caravans at the camp on earlier occasions we are particularly concerned that these children who are among the most vulnerable in the camp not be further traumatised by the imminent demolition of the camp.
We are aware that when sections of the camp were demolished previously many people were given shelter only in packed metal containers. Such treatment is in our view inhumane. We would also urge that France does not proceed with demolition of the Calais camp before appropriate accommodation has been found for all the refugees and migrants currently living there and where they will be treated with dignity and given the support they deserve.
Finally we appeal to your sense of humanity. Please open your heart to these most vulnerable people who only seek shelter and a place to live in peace and dignity.
[Signed Brian Larkin on behalf of the Peace and Justice Centre and about 80 others]