French authorities remove minors from shipping containers in Calais

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By Seamus Kearney
French authorities remove minors from shipping containers in Calais

Temporary accommodation in shipping containers is coming to an end for hundreds of minors in Calais.

On Wednesday French authorities began to move about 1,500 unaccompanied underage migrants from the site of the demolished Calais refugee camp.

Buses were due to take the minors to processing centres across France.

One young man told reporters: “The French came, security, police. Everyone came one by one.

“They told us ‘Get your bag, your clothes, everything, and go to the bus’. But we don’t want to go to the bus. We want to go England only, England, not France.”

A row between Britain and France over the sharing of responsibility for the care of the minors has dragged on.

French officials met to discuss the issue in Paris amid growing pressure from charities.

The UK is obliged under EU rules to take in unaccompanied minors who have family there.

And there is concern about many who have disappeared.

The French Interior Minister Bernard Cazneuve said: “We cannot leave unaccompanied minors to wander the streets without protection.

“So when they leave because of a lack of clarity about their future, or just fear – you have to understand that these are vulnerable people – so we have to do everything to get them back to the processing centres.

“We have do this methodically and humanely so we can explain to them what will happen next.”

The demolition of the Calais camp known as the ‘Jungle’ is coming to an end.

Officials say more than 6,000 people have been moved to processing centres across France, where their eligibility for asylum will be assessed.