The local government in Calais ruled for the eviction of the southern part of the “Jungle” refugee camp on Thursday 25 February, allowing the destruction of hundreds of tents that thousands temporarily call home.
Dr Philip McCarthy, CEO of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) said, “no one wants to see the camp continue, however we need more time to assess the welfare of vulnerable unaccompanied minors and put in place proper arrangements to prioritise their health and social needs. It is also vital that unaccompanied minors are afforded the opportunity to be reunited with family members who have found sanctuary in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.”
Vincent De Coninck, Project Manager in Calais for Secours Catholique, CSAN’s partner in France, echoes Dr McCarthy’s statement, “the solution to eradicate the camp is not a solution as long as it does not provide proper solutions for everybody”.
“We would like the camp to disappear in the future and we’re ready to collaborate, but it must take time – we have to discuss it with the refugees, experiment and try different solutions. It’s as if the government would like to make people disappear before the spring because they are afraid of new arrivals.”
Bernard Thibaud, General Secretary of Secours Catholique adds there is “a lack of trust between migrants and the government.” Citing an appeal before the Calais state council, he warns against the use of any force against, “people who have been victims of violence throughout their entire journey”.
Notes to editors :
1. Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) is the domestic social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. CSAN comprises over 43 Catholic Charities which work across England and Wales supporting children living in poverty, homeless people, disabled people, Travellers, migrants, refugees, prisoners and other marginalised groups. More information can be found at www.csan.org.uk.
2. Founded in 1946, Secours Catholique-Caritas France is a service of the Catholic Church and a member of the Caritas Internationalis confederation. It unites a network of 62,000 volunteers, “bringing help either direct or indirect, moral or material aid wherever there is a need for it, with the exception of any distinctive national or confessional religious identity, irrespective of the philosophical or religious opinions of the beneficiaries” (extract from the Statutes, art. 1).
3. The decision on the evictions was made on Thursday 25 February took place at the Administrative Court (Administrative Tribunal) of Lille, by Judge Madame Quemener.