People at the Calais migrant camp, who are fleeing violence and persecution, have human rights and should have a safe legal route to seek protection, Migrant Voice Director Nazek Ramadan told BBC Radio Cumbria.
“I spoke to lots of people in Calais and most wanted to come to the UK because they have immediate family here, or an established community that can help to support them,” she said in an interview on BBC Radio Cumbria’s Breakfast show on 13th January.
Following two visits to the Calais “Jungle”, Nazek spoke out about the deplorable conditions she has witnessed, and expressed shock to see people forced to live this way in Europe.
Calais is now in the news again, and a new camp is also being set up in Northern France by Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), as it has been impossible to bring the conditions at the current site up to minimum humanitarian standards.
“Many people in the camps have come from countries where there are conflicts, wars and human rights abuses. The UK and other countries in Europe are signatory to the UN Convention for the protection of refugees so those people have legal rights to seek asylum. But the problem is that there are no assessment centres, no legal routes for people fleeing persecution to exercise their rights. And European countries, including the UK, are not implementing the convention they signed up to.
“Calais is not that big a problem compared to what's happening elsewhere in Europe. If there is political will by both UK and France, people in these camps can be absorbed. What needs to be done is to listen to them, assess their claims, and then make a decision on their claim.”