Calais 'Jungle' migrant camp children arrive in UK before its demolition
The children currently arriving in the UK have no family resident in the country. That was made possible by a legal amendment to the Dublin rules which insisted the children already have family in the UK. Photograph: (Getty)
The first group of children with no ties to Britain arrived in the UK from the French "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais on Sunday.
These were among the 70 young people who were taken to London from the camp which is scheduled to be demolished beginning Monday.
The "Jungle" in the northeastern French port town of Calais is home to around 5,700 people, according to official figures, news agency AFP reported.
Britain began taking in children who had a family connection in the UK last week. AFP reported that the Dublin rules require the children to have family resident in Britain.
AFP reported that under a new legal amendment, a limited number of vulnerable child refugees are allowed entry into Britain even if they do not have family already living in the country. The children arriving on Sunday were bought under Dublin rules which allow ''particularly vulnerable children – such as girls and those under 13 – refuge in the UK'', the BBC reported.
"We initially prioritised the transfer of children with family links to the UK, under the Dublin Regulation, and have now started the process of taking in those children without close family links," said a spokesman for the Home Office interior ministry. "We are working... to make sure we bring all eligible children to the UK as soon as possible."
The demolition on Monday comes despite concerns for the safety of thousands of children and adults living in the camp.
The Guardian reported that British charities and MPs have expressed "very serious worries" regarding the demolition to France's interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
“We fear that the resources currently being deployed and the proposed responses are insufficient to ensure the effective protection of the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children,” said a letter from signatories including Save the Children, the Refugee Council and the International Rescue Committee UK, as well as 60 MPs and several peers, the Guardian reported.
(With inputs from AFP)