For Refugees, it’s the end of ‘The Jungle’ in Calais, France

 

In such difficult times around the world, it’s important to not only look at the beauty of travel, but also to understand more about what people are experiencing around the world. This is the first of my articles about Human Rights.

I am writing this today in hopes that I can educate people about some of the details of the refugee crisis happening in Europe right now.

I know we all have our own lives that keep us busy and away from spending more time learning about issues that effect other souls around the world.

For the last year I have kept an eye, hear and an open heart on the desperate and growing issues effecting Syrian refugees and their migration to Europe due to the leveling of their country.

The News Today

I just learned today that the French authorities are raising the Calais migrant jungle camp to the ground beginning on Monday, October 24, 2016. Refugees will have the option to seek asylum in France and be temporarily relocated elsewhere within France or be returned to their home country.

Many of the residents of the jungle are trying to reach family in Britain, but have not been allowed entry.

Where is this happening?

Calais (pronounced cal-lay) is a port city in northern France on the waters of the English Channel. Many refugees trekked to Calais in hopes of crossing to the United Kingdom to reunite with family.

What is the Calais jungle?

You may have never heard of the Calais jungle. News of this coming event resonated deeply with me as I have been following various bits of news over the last year learning more and more about the desperate situation for Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan and other refugees from various countries in Africa who have risked their lives to migrate to Europe.

The migrant “jungle” as they call it is not literally a jungle. The term is used to describe the chaos and instability of the camp that effects some 7,000 migrant people who have fled their homelands and are running for their lives due to the life threatening circumstances in their regions.

The Children of the Jungle

There is deep concern that the roughly 1,300 children who live in the camp unaccompanied by an adult will have the possibility of being abducted by traffickers. 129 children went missing in February 2016 when previous evictions from the camp were issued.

Making the jungle home

Originally built on a rubbish site, the Refugees set up camp with makeshift items, tents and trailers to form some type of dwelling for themselves.

Over time, they managed to open restaurants, shops and even schools to build some kind of semblance of normalcy. They were even able to build a Mosque and Christian Church from items donated by local communities.

These efforts are about to be destroyed by the French authorities.

Future of the camp inhabitants

Once the French authorities teardown the jungle, refugees can temporarily be relocated elsewhere in France while applying for asylum or be returned to their home country.

Aid workers believe that some of the refugees will return to Calais in efforts to enter Britain to be with family, to have access to better work opportunities and more ease with already knowing the English language.

Under the EU family reunification rules called the Dublin regulations, the first group of children and adolescents has been allowed into Britain.

DW – Deutsche Welle (Germany) – October 2016

CNN – June 2015:

RT – October 2016

CNN – March 2016:

Articles and videos to learn more about the migrant camp:

This article inspired by the article from TeleSur:
23 October, 2016 – TeleSur:
Razing Calais to the Ground, Raising Concerns of Traffickers

October 23, 2016 – CNN:
(Article & Video) Tensions high inside ‘Jungle’ refugee camp as demolition nears

23 October 2016 – BBC News:
(Article & Video) Calais migrants: France prepares to demolish ‘Jungle’ camp

October 18, 2016 – Reuters:
Slideshow: New Life for Calais ‘Jungle’ Residents

August 2, 2015 – Reuters:
Slideshow: Calais Jungle

October 19, 2016 – Democracy Now!
France: Court Rejects Bid to Stop Demolition of Calais Refugee Camp

October 22, 2016 – CNN:
Calais ‘Jungle’ migrant camp: What you need to know

How You Can Help Refugees

UNHCR is the United Nations Refugee Agency. Even though they are not working in the Calais jungle since it is a makeshift camp, they work to protect and assist refugees all over the world. Read the article below on what they think about the closure of the jungle.

Learn more about UNHCR and donate

Nobody Left Outside – The world is witnessing unprecedented numbers of people forced to flee their homes. Driven by the Syria crisis and conflicts in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Burundi and Central America, they are rising every day.

Sign up for UNHCR email updates

Article: UNHCR: France decision to close Calais ‘jungle’ camp welcome; Proper care in next steps crucial

 

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Lisa Kuhn

Writer
Lisa has traveled through South America for three months exploring Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. She also traveled extensively in the Western United States including Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and South Dakota. Lisa has traveled to Europe three times including her first trip in Europe backpacking for three months of solo-travel.

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