Αuthor: Siobhan Fenton
Posted: 17/ 12/ 2016
Hundreds of child asylum seekers in Calais expecting to come to Britain have been told that their claims have been rejected by the Home Office, it has been reported.
An estimated 1,900 children and teenagers are living in camps in Calais, while awaiting asylum to live in the UK. 750 have been brought to the UK, but the others have not been granted or approved for transfer. It is alleged that hundreds have now been told their applications to live in the UK have been rejected.
Toufique Hossain, director of public law at Duncan Lewis solicitors, represents a number of the children and told The Guardian that more than a dozen of children he represents had been told their applications have been rejected.
He said: “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.”
Mr Hossain added: “The children are very upset but we are telling them not to run away.”
Charity and aid workers have expressed concern about the welfare and safety of children left in Calais. Many have been forced to flee their home countries due to war and persecution and are experiencing trauma.
A considerable number are unaccompanied minors, meaning that they are not travelling with a parent or guardian- prompting further fears for their safety.
In October, following demolition of the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais, volunteers based there told The Independent the area has become «like Lord of the Flies» as children try to survive difficult conditions. They described working «round the clock» to deliver water, food and blankets to the children as the winter weather sets in.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We have been working with the French authorities to bring children eligible to come here and more than 750 children have arrived so far. We are working closely with the French authorities to ensure the remaining children in their care are provided with information on how to claim asylum in France.
“The current phase of transfers is being concluded. This is a planned process, done in conjunction with the French authorities. We have interviewed all the children who were transferred from the camp to the children centres in France.”