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French authorities dismantle Calais refugee camp

Issue No. 2170

Refugees struggle to survive on the streets of Calais (Pic:» Guy Smallman )

Refugees struggle to survive on the streets of Calais (Pic: » Guy Smallman)

French police took apart the refugee camp known as “the jungle”, outside Calais this week.

The shanty town was home to around 2,000 refugees, almost all from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of them are hoping to get to Britain.

UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee organisation, has asked the British government to offer asylum to some of the residents.

But immigration minister Phil Woolas stated, “We have no plans to take any of the refugees. These people are economic migrants.

“If they were genuine refugees they would have claimed asylum in France or the first country they came to.”

Woolas’s callous reply avoids any mention of Britain’s responsibility for helping create the refugee crisis with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Doesn’t it occur to him that people would apply to countries where they already have family or contacts?

Many of the camp’s residents now face deportation back to Afghanistan, where they will face persecution and possibly death.

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Tue 22 Sep 2009, 18:28 BST
Issue No. 2170
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