It has been officially announced that the French Government will be carrying out the total eviction of the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp from the 17th to the 27th of October.
10 days and the whole place will be gone.
Currently home to 10,200 people, the Calais Jungle is the product of war, terror, violence and persecution that people face in their home countries. This forces them to embark on treacherous journeys across the world, in the hope that somewhere will feel like home again.
And that is what the Jungle has become.
Home to people who have nothing.
The Jungle is where I have learnt that whatever you have been through, human spirit and community come out top and keep you going, through the darkest of times.
And this is a dark time. The biggest humanitarian crisis in our lifetime.
The biggest movement of people since World War Two.
63.5 million people displaced by war and violence according to last year’s UNHCR report.
The 10,000 people living on the English border are merely the small amount who believe that they have a right to a safe life in the UK. While most refugees stay in neighbouring countries to their own, where the language and culture is more familiar, these 10,000 are the ones who wish to be reunited with family in the UK, have fluent English, or in many cases have worked with the British Government.
It’s not that many.
How many Syrians do you know if your town? Your city? Your village?
How many Sudanese?
How many Eritreans?
We have the space…
Instead, our brothers and sisters are dying at the border because our government is not taking responsibility and offering safety to our fair share of refugees.
Whilst it is impossible to apply for asylum unless you are actually on English soil, people are forced to attempt to get to the UK by illegal and dangerous methods. They have no option but to risk their lives in the back of lorries or via people traffickers.
THERE IS NO LEGAL WAY.
Too many people have died on our border as it is…
And now, the French government has announced total demolition of the camp.
If the eviction of the south part of the camp in March of this year is anything to go by, this process will be violent, unjust, undignified and basically all-round absolutely shocking. In March we watched on in absolute horror as the shelters build lovingly by refugees and volunteers alike were set alight by police while people stood defiantly inside. We watched in disbelief as children were tear gassed and men and women were beaten.
The most memorable incident, ingrained in my mind forever, is the moment a pregnant woman was dragged from the roof of her shelter at gunpoint.
129 unaccompanied minors were lost in that eviction; this time we have an estimated 1,022 kids living alone in the camp.
The French government are offering spaces in asylum centres for those who wish to apply in France. It is unclear how many spaces but 10,000 seems pretty unlikely. So far neither government have offered any options for those eligible for asylum in the UK for reasons like family reunification, etc. These people may not be eligible for asylum in France. Many can’t speak the language and most don’t know anyone there.
All we can do is stand in solidarity and support with our friends as they continue to be abused and re-traumatised by the violent ways in which Europe deals with refugees: out of sight, out of mind; treating the symptom not the cause.
This demolition wont solve anything, only serve to displace people further.
It’s now guys, that we need to stand up and take action <3