Potential delays to Calais Jungle migrant camp demolition

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Aid groups have filed a request in Lille asking the French government to delay the demolition of the camp which houses almost 10,000 migrants.

The news that the camp was to be demolished came months ago, and has received mixed responses. The opposition mainly focuses on the welfare and future of the migrants currently situated in the camp, known as the “Calais Jungle”.

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French President Hollande

French President Francois Hollande had planned for the occupants to be moved to reception centres across France. He claimed that the demolition would be complete by the end of the year, however it is said that work could start as soon as Monday. This raised concern within French charities.

It was made clear that the groups asking for the delay did not oppose the demolition of the camp, rather the potentially inadequate preparation. Secours Catholique, one of the charities involved, see this immediate start as a potential welfare issue. In a statement they said: “It will be impossible to ensure serious preparations that cater properly to people’s interests.”

Although the camp’s population was recently halved, it still rises. The Calais Jungle officially houses around 6,000 migrants, however humanitarian groups dispute this, saying that the actual number is almost 10,000. This includes the rising number of unaccompanied children, another aspect that the aid groups are concerned about.

With the number of inhabitants increasing, reports of violence have also increased. Some members of the camp have resorted to protests such as hunger strikes in objection to the proposed demolition.

Lorries and Tractors blocked the main motorway into Calais in protest

Lorries and Tractors blocked the main motorway into Calais in protest

There have also been protests pressuring the government to speed up the demolition of the camp. At the start of September, a protest involving lorry drivers and tractors blocking the main motorway into Calais took place. Their reasoning for protesting lay with the claim that migrant violence was spiralling out of control.

The French government are said to already be in the process of moving migrants to different locations in preparation. A ruling of whether the delay will be accepted is expected tomorrow.

If any BU students would like to be involved in helping the refugee crisis, then get involved with Student Action For Refugees (STAR), a society running at the University. If you are interested, e-mail subustar@bournemouth.ac.uk or join the Facebook group ‘Student Action For Refugees (STAR) BOURNEMOUTH’.