UK ‘must accept Jungle migrants’ when Calais camp is razed next week, says UN

by Peter Allen and Mail Foreign Service
18 September 2009

The UK must accept some migrants from the illegal migrant camp known as the ‘Jungle’ when it is razed by France next week, the UN has said.
High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said the British government should be prepared to allow migrants with large families already in the UK to enter the country.

France has vowed to send in its army and riot police to raze the migrant camp at Calais, known as The Jungle, by the end of next week.

Immigration minister Eric Besson firmly told those using the camp: ‘You will not get to England any more via Calais.’

Mr Guterres told the BBC: ‘There will be situations in which we would recommend the British authorities consider the possibility, within reason, of receiving, for instance, people who have large families in Britain and things of this sort.

‘What I believe is important is that everybody that is in need of protection should be granted protection.’

The UK Border Agency told the BBC that details of the closure were ‘matters for the French government’.

The camp has replaced official centres like Sangatte as a gathering point for migrants hoping to cross to Britain.

Riot police have already taken up positions around The Jungle in preparation for the assault.

The camp’s demolition is expected on Monday or Tuesday, at the end of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan.

‘The majority of people living in the camp are Muslims and we would not want to offend them by launching our raid during Ramadan,’ said an officer.

French immigration minister Eric Besson leaving the Cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday

Mr Besson said the problem of where to put the displaced migrants would be solved by ‘individual solutions’.

By this he said he meant forced repatriation, an asylum claim in France, or a voluntary return to their country of origin.

But he made it clear the tough action was necessary only because Britain was so soft on immigration.

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