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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green MEP urges Government to provide basic needs and legal support in Calais

19 January 2017

Today, Theresa May met with French President Emmanuel Macron signed the Sandhurst Treaty – the first joint treaty on the Calais border in 15 years. This includes agreements to speed up the processing of asylum claims and accept more unaccompanied minors. [1]

Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP, said:

“I welcome the long overdue decision to reduce the time taken to process asylum claims for those hoping to reach the UK from Calais. This is a move that Theresa May should have made years ago during her years as Home Secretary, rather than having her hand forced by the French President.

Responding to applications within a month will greatly reduce the suffering experienced by these vulnerable people, including unaccompanied minors – many of whom have a legal right to be reunited with family on our shores. I, and many others, will be closely scrutinising this process to ensure that faster does not mean more superficial.

As the Government pours yet another £44.5m into security measures in Calais, I urge the Home Office to ensure this is used to provide for basic needs and legal support – not to fund yet more barbed wire and tear gas. Given reports of systematic rights violations in Calais, it’s crucial that human rights are at the heart of any new developments. [2] This includes cracking down on police violence, and keeping every child safe from harm and exploitation. It could make a start by hastily relocating more unaccompanied minors to the UK.

Despite their poor track record, this is an opportunity for France and the UK to fix the broken system that has contributed to the humanitarian crisis at their borders.”