30. November 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für „Eritrean child asylum seekers abandon French centre in bid to reach UK“ · Kategorien: Frankreich, Großbritannien · Tags: ,

Quelle: The Guardian | 29.11.2016

Group of 44 children run away from Le Havre reception centre over poor conditions and frustration at delays in processing their claims

Diane Taylor

Forty-four child asylum seekers from the demolished refugee camp in Calais have run away from a reception centre in Le Havre over poor conditions, saying they are returning to Calais to try to make their own way to the UK.

The children were among more than a thousand placed into centres around France to be looked after by the authorites after the camp was demolished.

The children left the centre on Tuesday morning after waiting weeks for the Home Office to process their cases and decide whether they were entitled to come to the UK.

One of the children, 16, told the Guardian: “We have very bad conditions in the centre. They don’t give us enough food or clothes. The manager came to speak to us with a Tigrinya interpreter earlier today. She was saying that only 10 children would be going to England and the rest would not be going.

“She said that if we didn’t like living at the centre we could leave. So that’s what we decided to do. There are some children here who are 12 or 13, others like me who are 16. All the children in the centre are Eritrean. The manager didn’t want to listen to our concerns.”

“We went to the station and hoped that we could get a train to Calais even though we don’t have any money to buy a ticket. But the station staff wouldn’t let us get on a train.”

After four hours at the station the children decided to return to the centre. One said: “We were too cold and hungry to continue. When we returned the staff said to us: ‘Welcome back.’”

Three of the boys are represented by Duncan Lewis solicitors and one of them texted his legal representative on Tuesday saying: “By now we are coming back to Calais.”

One of the boys’ caseworkers, Rebecca Carr, spoke to a member of the centre staff in Le Havre about the mass exodus of children and asked them what they were going to do about it. The staff said they could not prevent the children from leaving if they wanted to.

Carr said the member of staff had told her that they were trying to do their best but that it was difficult because the centre did not exist three weeks ago, and it had been difficult to source all the furniture and food for the children. The centre is only given €5 per child per day, she said.

The 16-year-old boy who spoke to the Guardian said that all the children were feeling very bad in the centre and losing hope, especially after they were told that only 10 would be allowed to go to the UK.

“Two of the children, one who is 12 and one is 13, already ran away and managed to get to Holland. We all want to go to the UK but we don’t know what will happen to us. I was interviewed by the Home Office last week and was told I would have to wait for a month before I could get papers to come to the UK to join my uncle who lives there,” he said.

Toufique Hossain, director of public law at Duncan Lewis, had urged the children to return to the centre.

“They are all very fed up and they have had enough but if they leave they will be at risk of exploitation and serious harm. If they do make it to Calais there are no longer any services there to support them. We are representing 37 children who have been placed in different centres across France but this is the first time we have heard of a mass departure like this being staged. The Home Office seem to be dragging their feet. They say they are processing applications but they aren’t doing it quickly enough.”

A spokesman for the French embassy confirmed that the 44 children had left the centre earlier on Tuesday to try to get to Calais. “We checked with local officials who confirmed that conditions in the centre are good. Of course we could not force the children to return to the centre but we encouraged them to return, and they did so,” the spokesman said.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are continuing to work closely with the French government and other partners to identify unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who may be eligible to come to the UK.

“Our priority is transferring these children as soon as possible and ensuring their safe arrival. When transferred to the UK they are reunited with family members or put into the care of local authorities.

“We have made significant progress in improving and speeding up the existing processes since the beginning of the year, but the primary responsibility for unaccompanied children in France lies with the French authorities.”

Beitrag teilen

Kommentare geschlossen.