Joint statement from British and French NGOs
Leading British and French non-governmental organisations working on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers, issued the following statement today, in advance of tomorrow’s meeting between British Home Secretary David Blunkett and his French counterpart, Daniel Vaillant, Minister of the Interior to discuss the Sangatte situation.
We, the undersigned, call on both Ministers to:
acknowledge that the Sangatte centre is a symptom, not the cause of the situation
recognize that the solution lies in working with other European governments on setting the same, high standards for receiving asylum seekers, processing their cases and defining who is in need of protection
respond humanely to asylum seekers wishing to join family members
ensure that people in both countries are informed of their right to make an asylum claim, with the benefit of full access to the UNHCR, legal advice and NGOs
maintain a calm approach, avoiding inflammatory language that might fuel racism and xenophobia.
All signatories below are members of the European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE):
The Refugee Council believes the attention being focussed on the Red Cross centre in Sangatte, northern France, misses the point. Find out why here.
For further information please contact:
In the UK:
Jean Candler/Sarah Campion, Press Office, Refugee Council, 020 7820 3057/020 7840 4404, out of hours pager no: 0870 0555500 and ask for pager 865169
Neil Durkin, Press Office, Amnesty International UK, 020 7814 6241
France Terre d’Asile: Pierre Henri, director, tel +33 1 53 04 39 97; fax +33 1 53 04 02 40 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Forum Rfugis: Olivier Brachet, director or Christelle Bonville, tel +33 4 78 03 74 45; fax +33 4 78 03 28 74 email email@example.com
Amnesty International (France): Patrick Delouvin tel +33 1 53 38 65 16; mob +33 6 20 45 86 84