PARIS: Britain must fulfill its duties towards unaccompanied migrant children in the Calais “Jungle” camp, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in an article published Tuesday, just a day after more than a dozen teenagers and from countries including Syria and Sudan were transferred to the UK.
“(The) French government has now decided to dismantle the Calais camp for good,” Cazeneuve said in an opinion piece for British newspaper The Guardian, adding that neither London nor Paris wants “to leave people with the right to refugee status in the cold and the mud — women and children least of all”.
The makeshift settlement in Calais has become a focal point in France of Europe’s migrant crisis, the subject of heated debate among politicians and a constant source of tension with Britain, which is where many of the migrants want to go.
The minister said, “because they share a moral responsibility towards them, the governments of France and the UK are determined to succeed with this operation together”.
“The British government has pledged to help solve this crisis by taking in some unaccompanied minors, the vast majority of whom have expressed the wish to go to the UK,” he added.
“The UK government now needs to intensify this effort, so that every unaccompanied minor can benefit from fair, lasting protection. In the longer term, neither the UK nor France can abdicate our responsibilities regarding the migration crisis across our continent.”
The interior minister also warned that the “humanitarian operation must be supported by long-term measures aimed at making the border impenetrable at Calais and other Channel ports”.