Monday 11 December 2017

France and Britain bicker over child migrants stuck in Calais

Flames from makeshift shelters shoot up into the sky after a gas bottle explodes in the Jungle as refugees saw their hopes of resettling in Britain come to an end. Photo: Reuters
Flames from makeshift shelters shoot up into the sky after a gas bottle explodes in the Jungle as refugees saw their hopes of resettling in Britain come to an end. Photo: Reuters

Five days into a French operation to clear the Calais "Jungle" France has lashed out at apparent British criticism of the way children are being treated while thousands of migrants are resettled across France and the camp is destroyed.

France's home office minister Bernard Cazeneuve expressed "surprise" in a late Thursday statement about comments by his British counterpart and sought to remind Britain of its responsibilities with regard to the stranded young people.

Migrants with their belongings queue at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the
Migrants with their belongings queue at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Migrants with their belongings queue at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Migrants with their belongings queue near barriers at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
A coloured bracelet is placed on the wrist of a migrant at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Migrants with their belongings queue near barriers at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
A migrant with his belongings walks past tents at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Migrants with their belongings queue at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Migrants with their belongings queue at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Migrants with their belongings walk past tents at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Migrants with their belongings gather inside a tent at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Migrants place their belongings on a bus at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Migrants carry their belongings as they board a bus at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
A coloured bracelet is placed on the wrist of a migrant at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Migrants carry their belongings as they leave a tent and head toward a bus at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Migrants queue at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Migrants with their belongings queue at the start of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, and the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

British television group ITN said in a web site report British Home Secretary Amber Rudd had spoken to Cazeneuve "to stress the need for children who remain in Calais to be properly protected".

The French government said Cazeneuve and his housing minister, Emmanuel Cosse, "learned with surprise the declarations of Ms Amber Rudd, Britain's interior minister".

Migrants look at burning makeshift shelters and tents in the
Migrants look at burning makeshift shelters and tents in the "Jungle" on the third day of their evacuation and transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp in Calais, France, October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

"The French ministers hope ... the United Kingdom will quickly execute its responsibilities to take in these minors, who hope to come to the United Kingdom. This is the best way to give them the protection they are due."

The French statement followed widespread media reports of unsupervised children sleeping rough around the port town since the clearance operation was launched, even though some 1,451 minors have been housed separately near the camp.

France says Britain has accepted 274 children from among this group.

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Thousands of migrants had until this week been camped near Calais in the hope of making the short journey across the sea to Britain by leaping on trucks and trains or walking through the Channel tunnel.

European Union rules say Britain must take in unaccompanied children who have family ties in the country under so-called Dublin rules. An amendment to those rules adopted in Britain this year states that such minors whose best interests are served by doing so should also be admitted.

Migrants ride past burning shelters set on fire in the makeshift migrant camp known as
Migrants ride past burning shelters set on fire in the makeshift migrant camp known as "the jungle" near Calais, northern France (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Reuters

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