The closure of the camps in Calais will fail to provide a long-term solution unless accompanied by dramatically improved arrangements to identify vulnerable refugees and closer working between European countries, the Refugee Council warned today.
The Refugee Council, the largest independent charity working with asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, visited Calais in May 2009 and was shocked by the poor living conditions of the migrants and the lack of arrangements in place to identify refugees and ensure they were able to claim asylum.
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“Closing down the camps is treating the symptom, not the cause. We know that among the migrants in Calais are refugees seeking a place of safety, and some are very vulnerable indeed.
“This is a European-wide problem, which needs a European level solution. Standards for looking after refugees differ greatly among European countries, with some countries having particularly poor systems that fail to offer safety to those who need it. Until there are adequate arrangements in place in all European countries to look after refugees the problem in Calais will not go away.
“Meanwhile, it is imperative that all vulnerable people in Calais are looked after adequately, the camps are dismantled humanely and people are provided with an opportunity to claim asylum if they need to.”