As fires burn through Calais ‘Jungle,’ UNICEF urges protection of children remaining in the camp

27 October 2016

“Deeply troubled” that last night, while fires burned in parts of the Calais refugee and migrant camp that has become known as “the Jungle” burned, many children were forced to sleep out in the cold, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today underscored that authorities on the ground must guarantee their protection.

“Reports today from volunteers in Calais that some children have been escorted away by police for not having a wristband are shocking,” said a joint statement from the French and United Kingdom National Committees for UNICEF.

With the situation for some children in Calais more dangerous than ever despite promises of the French and UK governments to keep children safe throughout demolition of the camp, UNICEF urged stepped up action to ensure their protection.

“Despite queuing for hours yesterday, dozens of children were reportedly unable to register and get their official wristbands from the authorities before the registration closed. This kind of situation is exactly what exposes children to traffickers and smugglers, and puts them in dangerous situations without food, shelter and any support,” UNICEF warned.

In all this, the agency urged the authorities to guarantee the protection and best interests of every child. “After so much progress has been made to bring them to safety, it would be unacceptable for children to now slip through the cracks.”

 

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UN agency supporting French authorities in transferring refugees from Calais ‘Jungle’

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that it is assisting French authorities as they begin to close the refugee camp in Calais known as ‘the Jungle,” and “environment not fit for human habitation” and which highlights the need for greater responsibility sharing and coordination between European Union member States.