BHRC witnesses child rights abuses during demolition of Calais refugee camps

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Representatives of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales have found serious flaws in legal procedure and in child protection during the demolition of the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais and the removal of its residents, with apparent breaches of child rights law by both the UK and French governments.

BHRC Chairwoman Kirsty Brimelow QC and Jelia Sane, a barrister from Doughty Street Chambers, travelled to Calais last week and have been monitoring the situation within the camp. BHRC were the only lawyers present in the camps with a specific focus on the removal process concerning children, after the French government refused access to lawyers including Avocats Sans Frontières.

Kirsty Brimelow QC said:

“It was entirely predictable that demolishing the camp prior to accomodating the children within it would lead to children sleeping rough in cold conditions, vulnerable to further abuse and exploitation.

It was not possible to process so many people properly in a few days. The system was hampered by lack of information given to those in the camp and fundamental disregard for due process of appeals.

This was compounded by refusal to lawyers to enter and provide independent legal advice. It is disappointing the UK was partnered in a process which was unfair, opaque and an affront to human dignity.”

A full BHRC report on the removals and possible breaches of international law will be published shortly.

Image credit: malachybrowne via Flickr


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