PM urged to let Jungle children into UK Religious leaders have called on Theresa May to allow nearly 400 children living in the Jungle migrant camp in Calais to enter the UK.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister organised by the charity Citizens UK, senior figures from Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths label the camp a “stain” on the consciences of Britain and France.
The letter says the child migrants, the youngest of whom is eight, have fled conflict and persecution, are now stuck in Northern France, deeply traumatized and at great risk as well documented by the anti-slavery commissioner you yourself appointed while Home Secretary”.
It comes after French president Francois Hollande announced the camp would be bulldozed before Christmas, with its 9,000 inhabitants dispersed around the country, a move welcomed by residents of Calais but which has caused disquiet elsewhere.
Demonstrators took to the streets in several towns across France at the weekend to protest against Hollande’s plan.
About 250 people marched in Forges-les-Bains, 30km (18 miles) southwest of Paris, against a migrant reception centre which opened on Monday.
In Pierrefeu-du-Var, southern France, the Front National party staged an anti-migrant protest that drew about 650 supporters.
It was revealed last month that no children have yet been helped to leave the camp despite changes to Britain’s Immigration Act four months ago which were meant to assist them.
Labour peer Lord Dubs made the revelation during a tour of the camp during which he told Sky News: “There are 800 unaccompanied children in this camp and 387 now have the right to go to Britain, but not one has.
“I’m appalled and I’m terribly disappointed. I’ll be meeting with the new immigration minister soon and I will be bringing this up. We can’t keep doing nothing.”
Britain’s anti-slavery commissioner, Kevin Hyland, recently warned that children in the camp were risking their lives dealing with smuggling gangs after failing to enter Britain through the tradition route of claiming asylum.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The clearance of the camp in Calais is a matter for the French authorities, who also have primary responsibility for unaccompanied children in France.
“The UK government has no jurisdiction to operate on French territory and can only contribute in ways agreed with the French authorities and in compliance with French and EU law.”