A different perspective on the clearing of the refugee camp in Calais

The media now seems to have forgotten the plight of the refugees who were displaced at gunpoint from the camp at Calais. Local Hastings and Rye LP member Maya Evans  witnessed the events last week and gives her personal perspective. Maya is willing to be invited to speak about this at local LP meetings etc.

Hello from Calais, which has resembled some sort of post apocalyptic scene with 1,500+ unaccompanied minors wandering around wasteland near an industrial park. Bulldozers have worked swiftly clearing most of the camp in less than a week. Today the minors got bussed to various parts of France, they were processed by ethnic group and given an wristband corresponding to the bus they were supposed to get on. The minors didn’t seem to know where they were being sent. Now only the most vulnerable remain, some 500 women and kids, currently living in marquee style tents in a guarded cordoned area.

Two days ago I met Fatima, a 32 year old Sudanese woman with 7 kids, she fled Darfour after her husband and sister were kidnapped and then murdered. Her eldest child, 13 year old Selma, was gang raped in front of her and died a few days later from internal injuries. Without a doubt Fatima is incredible, I have no idea how she managed to get herself and 7 kids (all under the age of 11) from Darfour to Calais via several months of sleeping rough in Paris. Her only living relative is a brother who lives in London.

There’s was a small hospital within the jungle; in addition to patching people up they also performed terminations, almost daily, mainly for women who have been raped during their journey.

 I have mixed feelings about the jungle, an incredibly unique melting pot and community of people thrown together. An intense energy which was normally jovial and optimistic, but could flip to aggression and fights drawn upon racial lines. It’s sensible that people are not living outside for another winter, but the destruction of community is always difficult to justify. One thing is for certain, the whole situation could have been dealt with in a far more humane way, and Britain holds a lot of responsibility for the poor handling of the situation, especially
unaccompanied minors, women and kids.

 Earlier today I sat with a young Eritrean man who loves to paint portraits of Jesus. He caught my attention as he was watching part of a Parliamentary debate about the Calais crisis. Our very own MP was centre field arguing that Britain was only accepting 300 minors to discourage other minors from taking the dangerous journey to Calais! I get the impression that the French are far from impressed by Britain’s shirking of its equal quota of refugees, not to mention having the UK border control in Calais…

Apparently £150million has been spent by Britain on border control in France- imagine if that money had been spent on housing and educating 1,500 minors to become productive UK citizens.