When I visited the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk on 16 February 2016 I realised that we needed a long term solution to get people out of these slum camps. Neither the French nor UK authorities are providing any means for refugees to get advice or information on whether they should apply for asylum in France or whether they have the right to apply for asylum in the UK under the family re-unification rights. Now that the Calais camp is going to be demolished with no clear solution from the French authorities on where these people will be put and no assurances that the 423 unaccompanied children living in the camp will be protected, it is now urgent that we fund a full time lawyer, or indeed a team of lawyers, to provide advice on what the refugees and in particular, the unaccompanied children can do.
A British charity working in the camp, Help Refugees, has already identified about 100 unaccompanied children with family in the UK. I will pay the money raised to Help Refugees which is a registered British charity (under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund) who have been working with volunteer British and French lawyers since September 2015. We now need to massively scale-up the access to justice before the camp is demolished and the children are lost or picked up by the child slave traffickers.