October 21, 2017

France urges UK to take more children

Calais ‘Jungle

France’s president has urged Britain to take its share of responsibility for migrant children who remain in Calais after the “Jungle” camp was cleared.
Francois Hollande said 1,500 unaccompanied minors who were still in the port city would be taken to accommodation centres very shortly.
Migrants fleeing war and poverty had used the sprawling Jungle site as a staging post to try and reach the UK.
The UK has so far agreed to take in about 250 of the children from there.
The Jungle had been seen as a key symbol of Europe’s failure to deal with the worst migrant crisis since World War Two.
At least 1,500 minors have been staying at a special container camp at the site, but it has been full and many children have also reportedly been sleeping rough.
Mr Hollande said he and UK Prime Minister Theresa May had discussed British officials processing them in France with a view to rehousing them in the UK.
“I talked yesterday [Friday] with the British prime minister, as [French Interior Minister] Bernard Cazeneuve did with his British counterpart, so that the British can go to those centres with those minors and take their share to welcome them in Britain,” he said.
Mr Hollande was speaking during a visit to an accommodation centre for migrants in Doue-la-Fontaine in western France.
He hailed the evacuation of the Calais Jungle as a success.
“There were no incidents from start to finish,” Mr Hollande said. “We had to rise to the challenge of the refugee issue. We could not tolerate the camp and we will not tolerate any others.”
He added the encampments springing up in the capital Paris would be forced to close.
Many of the 5,000 people evacuated from the Jungle have been taken to reception centres around France, where they are being processed and will be able to apply for asylum.
But aid workers believe that hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of migrants, might have fled the area before the clearance operation began last Monday.
Demolition work is continuing and the local authorities say the clearance will be completed by Monday.

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