Bar Human Rights Committee reports on Jungle demolition
The Bar Human Rights Committee has released its fact-finding report “Breakdown: the dismantling of the Calais “Jungle” and of the promises to its unaccompanied children”.
BHRC chair, Kirsty Brimelow QC, and member, Jelia Sane, gained access to the Jungle during the demolition operation which took place in October 2016 and witnessed first-hand the squalid conditions that residents, including lone children, had been exposed to for many years. They met with representatives from Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, amongst others, and interviewed camp residents, including unaccompanied migrant children from Sudan and Eritrea.
As documented in this report, the evidence collected by BHRC strongly suggests that in the rush to demolition, the British and French governments failed to take effective steps to safeguard the welfare of the estimated 1900 unaccompanied minors living in the camp, leaving many at risk. Moreover, BHRC considers that the Home Office led ‘expedited’ process for the transfer of children to the UK under the Dublin III Regulation and the Dubs amendment was procedurally defective leading to unlawful decision-making. BHRC notes with concern that hundreds of children who underwent this process remain in France, one year on, and further condemns the decision by the British government to end the Dubs scheme.
The treatment of, and conditions faced by, the Jungle’s unaccompanied minors is in many ways symptomatic of the EU wide failure to protect unaccompanied child refugees and uphold the best interests of the child principle. This report seeks to contribute to the debate regarding what action can be taken to effectively protect what is one of the world’s most vulnerable populations, by examining the circumstances surrounding the dismantlement of the ‘Jungle’ and considering what lessons can be learnt.
BHRC thanks Pippa Woodrow for her contribution to the drafting of this report.