A little-known population of the Calais “Jungle” : unaccompanied minors
The death of Masud, a 15 year old Afghan who died trying to reach Great Britain by its own means shocked many and put in light the failures of administrations surrounding migrants.
The young isolated boy felt desperate after month of travel through Europe, though he was entitled to legally enter Great Britain due to the EU’s Dublin Regulation allowing refugees having close relatives in an EU country to claim asylum there.
In a tragic irony, Masud case’s was even one of the most urgent cases listed in a legal challenge against the Home Office that will take place on the 18th of January. The Home Office is suspected of having ignored the Dublin Regulation in many cases, thus putting many lonely minors in dangerous situations.
Concerning the presence of isolated children in the Calais “Jungle”, it is difficult to get a clear number. However, several observers, from aid charities to Europol, agree on a rise in the number of unaccompanied youngsters.
Europol reported about 7.000 isolated minors among the flow of refugees, a rising figure. Moreover, these isolated children, generally deeply in need, tend not to be followed by child protection agencies. In France, around 1600 of them were registered, but most of them tend to avoid authorities.
Beyond harsh living conditions along psychological pressure, these unaccompanied minors are vulnerable both to French police’s offensives and groups of older young men. Many of them regularly go missing.
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"Il devient absolument urgent de mettre un terme à cette injustice. Il y a un manque de connaissances et de recherches. Il faut donc promouvoir le recueil de témoignages, mais aussi construire des mémoriaux, organiser des expositions..." - @BenjaminAbtan