UK and France close to deal on Calais child refugees

UK and France close to deal on Calais child refugees
Photo: AFP
The UK says it has almost reached a deal with France to take in unaccompanied child refugees from Calais but it is unclear how many of the 1,000 in the Jungle camp will be transferred.

Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd met with her counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve for lengthy talks on Monday about the refugee crisis in Calais.

The talks came after Cazeneuve said Britain had a ‘moral duty’ to let hundreds of migrant children join their relatives across the Channel.

And it appears London is ready to fulfil that duty.

In a statement to MPs in the British parliament, Amber Rudd said: “We are expecting to reach an agreement. When the camp clearances take place in the next few weeks we will be working very closely with the French.”

She said the UK would prioritise safeguarding children aged under 12.

The need to transfer the children out of Calais is even more urgent given that the French government plans to send in the bulldozers in the coming weeks.

The 10,000 migrants currently camped out in the squalid Jungle camp will be sent to reception centres in towns and villages around the country.

French authorities have agreed to draw up a list of almost 400 eligible refugees who have a legal right to be in the UK.

“Once we have that official list we will move quickly within days and remove very quickly those children,” said Rudd.

She said Britain would take as many child refugees as possible who had direct family links already in the UK.

“I emphasised to Mr Cazeneuve that we should transfer as many minors as possible from the camp eligible under the Dublin regulation before clearance commences, with the remainder coming over within the next few days of operation,” Rudd told MPs.



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