Home Politics Do your moral duty, French president tells Britain

Do your moral duty, French president tells Britain


French president Francois Hollande has told Britain it must step up and do its moral duty to help the child refugees in Calais.
The fate of hundreds of unaccompanied minors in Calais hangs in the balance. While some have been taken to refugee centres, others are still in temporary accommodation made from shipping containers, and some are said to be sleeping rough in the camp known as the Jungle.
The French president says 5,000 people have been removed from the camp so far, but 1,500 unaccompanied children remain housed in shipping containers and are set to be transferred to reception centres around the country.
However aid workers are now fearful that children may simply choose to run away rather than be moved on again with no idea of where they are going.
It also seems to be a departure from previous communications between the UK and France. The UK Home Office had believed it would be processing applications for children who claim to have a UK connection while they were in Calais.
However, now Home Office officials are said to be leaving within days.
President Hollande said France had no choice but to “rise to the challenge” of the huge refugee crisis.
He added that France could not tolerate the Jungle and it will not tolerate any other such camps. “There are 1,500 unaccompanied minors left in Calais and they will be very quickly dispatched to other centres,” he said.
President Hollande says he has had high-level discussions with British Prime Minister Theresa May to make sure British officials do their bit by accompanying minors to new centres, and in welcoming them to the UK.
He added: “Their transfer to Britain is urgent. We ask you to take your responsibilities and assume your moral duty by immediately organising their arrival.”
However Save the Children emergencies manager Ginny Howell has spoken of her fear that taking the unaccompanied children to reception centres around France could be a mistake.
She said children needed to go to child-appropriate accommodation and the charity’s biggest concern would be that these children became a flight risk.
“In the last eviction in March,” she explained, “we had 129 children go missing. We know that more children have already run away. We know that if you bus a child to somewhere else in France, the risk is that they lose faith that they can get to the UK.”