Thanks again to ‘pungentpeppers’ here is an update from the stalemate in Calais where hundreds of Middle Easterners and Africans have congregated for months demanding they be let into the UK. (See our previous Calais posts here).
In a clear ploy to tug at heartstrings, The Independent begins and ends with sob-stories about the poor men who scratched together thousands of dollars to get this far in order to break into what they call “The House” (the UK).
But the British government again lays out the cold hard truth—in the European Union, legitimate asylum seekers are to ask for asylum in the first safe country in which they land. For these men was it Italy, Malta, Greece, Bulgaria—any of the border countries? And, indeed if they were legit, they could ask for asylum in France.
Going one step further, the UK says the condition of French “camps” is France’s problem! Yup!
The French government has asked Britain to consider a renegotiation of the agreement which led to the closure of Sangatte and share more of the financial and policing “burden” caused by the migrants. The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, said last month that the situation in Calais had reached an “impasse”. The response from his British opposite, Home Secretary Theresa May, has been a polite restatement of the status quo.
A Home Office spokeswoman said tonight: “The conditions of any camps in France and the policing of them is the responsibility of the French authorities. If individuals have a genuine need of protection they should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.”
Indeed, the real passion and anger is among those with the least power and the most to lose.
For two consecutive weeks, the streets of Calais have been the scene of demonstrations by angry migrants waving placards proclaiming “Freedom to move”, “Liberté” and “No border, no nation – stop deportation”
The list of grievances of the marchers – Afghans, Kurds, Sudanese, Eritreans, Egyptians, Syrians – is long and multifarious, from an unrealistic demand for Britain to open its border to a plea for the “basic dignity” afforded by washing facilities and an end to what they say is harassment by French police.