Question Daniel Politics & International Relations
Calais Refugee Camp
Is it humane to destroy the refugee camp in Calais?
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Answer Expert #26314
Recently, the French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, informed the public that he and the French government were going to close the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais. The plan is to dismantle the site in stages and reduce the pressure on the town – currently, a record number of 1,900 police offices are in operation in Calais and more are being requested to help patrol the border as migrants continue to attempt to smuggle themselves into Britain.
Cazeneuve has stated he wants to move the refuges into reception centres across the country during the dismantling process. However, many have argued that it is currently inhumane to move people on from the camp into these centres against their will. This is because reception centres are only a short-term solution and, if people do not claim asylum within 4 months of being in a centre, they will likely be deported. A possible alternative to this is the two official refugee camps in Paris – one of which will house men, and the other women and children. These will be of official UN standard and provide clean water, shelter and proper facilities to an increasing number of migrants while a longer term solution is uncovered.
While there is strong opposition to closing the Calais camp, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is not a long-term option as the camp is already beginning to run out of food and money as charities working there are no longer able to keep up with the increasing demands of its growing population. Even after half of the Calais camp was demolished earlier in the year, its population has actually doubled since last year and, with donations continuing to fall, it is only a matter of time before the camp reaches crisis point. With this in mind, it is clear that the camp does need to be removed (or at the very least have its population reduced). However, this should only occur once people can be moved to the camps in Paris or asylum status becomes a real possibility for residents.