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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Letters to British and French Governments on the situation in Calais and Dunkirk


Jean, along with other UK and French Green MEPs, today wrote to British Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May about the treatment of asylum seekers in the makeshift camps near Calais and Dunkirk – demanding urgent action. Letters were also sent to the French President, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

You can read the full text of their letter below.

UK and French Green MEPs
European Parliament
Rue Wiertz

02 February 2016

Dear Prime Minister Cameron,

Dear Rt Hon Theresa May,

As Europe faces the greatest flows of refugees entering our continent since the end of the second world war we feel bound to raise our concerns with you about the treatment of the 6,000 people seeking protection who are currently living in squalid, makeshift camps near Calais and Dunkirk.

While the civil society mobilisation and assistance offered by volunteers at the camps is inspirational and is keeping people there from starving and freezing, the need for such an effort is proof in itself that the British and French governments are failing to live up to their international legal obligations. As you are aware, most of the people in the camps are from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan. Most of them want to reach the UK for a variety of reasons – they may have family or community links here and speak English. Safe access to the territory of the UK for those wishing to claim asylum is effectively denied due to current border control arrangements.

The situation in Calais and Dunkirk is intolerable and we call on both the French and UK Governments to take urgent action.

Both governments should jointly:

• Extend co-operation to asylum and migration rather than concentrating on the police and security elements;
• Step-up the effective identification of vulnerable individuals and work to find rapid, safe and fair solutions for them;
• Ensure the safe and rapid transfer of unaccompanied minors entitled to join family members from France to the UK or elsewhere in the EU under the Dublin 3 Regulation.

The French government should:

• Provide accurate, timely and effective information and support on an ongoing basis as regards the French asylum system and encourage people to apply;
• Ensure the provisions of the Reception Conditions Directive are fully applied;
• Act urgently to end police brutality and intimidation.

The UK government should:

• Accept responsibility for those with family members or other ties in the UK;
• Agree a rapid, fair processing system with the French to allow the lodging of applications for asylum in Britain and allow those with good cause to settle here;
• Issue guidance to caseworkers on the proper implementation of Dublin 3, with an emphasis on a generous “humanitarian” interpretation of the provisions laid down in article 17 of the Regulation.

The existence of these squalid camps on our shared border undermines our claim to be civilised societies.

We demand urgent action to end this glaring evidence of inhumanity.

Yours sincerely,

Jean Lambert, MEP

Molly Scott Cato, MEP

Keith Taylor, MEP

José Bové, MEP

Karima Delli, MEP

Pascal Durand, MEP

Yannick Jadot, MEP

Eva Joly, MEP

Michèle Rivasi, MEP

LETTER 2016 02 2nd Cameron and Hollande