CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) is deeply concerned by the proposal to build a wall near the Calais refugee camp. We recognise the right of states to secure their borders but we believe that investing more money in security at the port and Channel Tunnel will not provide a long-term solution to the growing problems at Calais.
In the past months, the refugee camp in Calais has been growing. An estimated 9,000 people are now living on one meal a day in poor conditions in the camp, hoping to find a way to build their lives again. Caritas organisations working with refugees and in the Calais camp have reported an extraordinary response to their calls for donations and aid to be sent to Calais, which is evidence of the continuing resolution among the British and French people to see the residents of the camp treated with dignity.
We reiterate our call for EU responses to the situation at Calais to respect the human dignity of residents of the Calais camp. We in particular urge the EU, France and the UK to:
- Provide for the basic needs of migrants, including those in transit, to guarantee their human dignity
- Improve solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU Member States through including a fair mechanism in the Common European Asylum System
- Prioritise family reunification of asylum seekers in Calais with family members in the UK, in particular unaccompanied children
- Give priority to protecting vulnerable people with particular attention to women and children
The dire situation in Calais cannot be resolved by building yet more fortifications. Rather we need to find ways of responding to human needs. As Pope Francis said in April, to achieve peace, “the greatest obstacle to be removed is the wall of indifference”.
- CSAN’s French partners, Secours Catholique (Caritas France) work to support migrants in the camp at Calais. More information can be found here: www.secours-catholique.org