An urgent request from Uncertain Journeys team member, Professor Sue Clayton:
“I’m in Calais working in the ‘Jungle’ and things have taken a turn I thought many of you might want to know about. There are at least 10,000 people here, probably more, and no official support agencies. Because France does not recognise it as a camp, it is run entirely by independent helpers and non-funded groups, most of them totally exhausted. Contrary to popular belief, they are now without many basics as volunteer deliveries have slowed.
Among the 10,000 are about 1,000 under 18s without family, as young as 8. I was working on a story about the fact that 450 of these have been argued to have a case to enter the UK, but the Home Office is making this impossible. (I can brief anyone with a particular interest on the detail of this- there are two pieces of legislation that should allow under 18s to come to UK- Dublin III accord if they have family in UK, Dubs Amendment if their safety and security is threatened). I have been working with a team of lawyers who are contesting the Home Office and we had the threat of camp closure on November 1st as the deadline to get test cases heard in the Immigration Court and then if needed in the High Court. The young people will be scattered or will just run away if the camp closes, or make last-ditch and highly dangerous attempts to get to UK by trucks and other dangerous means.
There are volunteers frantically trying to register all the under 18s. One of them, Raheemullah Oryakhel, was killed 2 weeks ago as though he had a legal case to be accepted y the UK- he had a brother here- he gave up hope of his papers coming through in time and made a run for the port and the trucks. . He was 14. [You can find out more on the BBC News site]
New information from here is that the French will start destroying the camp on October 17th and that compromises whether we can get the legal challenge through. I can probably get the headlines of this onto ITN and I know there will be other TV news crews here covering the general destruction of the camp- but I think I must make some kind of film of the next 10-15 days for a more qualitative point of view as to what’s happening to the the young people. (with due respect to their privacy- may not film them directly, but there are ways of doing it where I don’t need to..) and whether we can get a challenge before its too late.
On October 8th at 2am the legal centre in the camp (a portacabin) burnt to the ground, severely hampering our work. I’m meeting kids of 11 and 12 with no family in Europe, and no prospects after next week. Nobody here believes the French will magically provide buses and accommodation for 10,000 people. Its a human rights disaster.
I am not a great do-er of crowd funding, as I know most people who choose to, are already giving time or funds to things – and feel a bit embarrassed about doing this – but a friend suggested I do it. I ask you please consider making a donation – your name will be credited on the final film if you wish. There will be an official webpage soon.
I need about £13,000 to make the film and I don’t have time to apply for grant funding. I have been thrilled to recieive just over £5,000 in 2 days, but need to get the rest of the money soon. Any contributions will be gratefully received. If you want to support with a donation, please write to me [Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org] and I’ll send bank details. There will be a webpage and crowd-funding link in a few days. All the very best, Sue.”
Further information about the position of unaccompanied children in Calais: