Under the current agreement between France and the UK, border security and the force used against migrants at Calais has become increasingly tough.

Migrants in the area are not able to access the French asylum system nor the family reunification process, as a result they find themselves stuck at the border.

The status quo gives power to the people smugglers

The current arrangement has led to networks of people smugglers and traffickers abusing migrants in the Calais area.

Getting to the UK has become increasingly complicated, this means more and more people are turning to people smugglers to get across the border.

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The State’s response

The official response has led to the increased destruction of makeshift shelters, tents, and the taking away of duvets and blankets – making the situation for migrants far worse. The authorities are well aware that the migrants in Calais do not have an alternative place to go, yet they are doing their utmost to make sure migrants stranded at the border do not settle without doing anything to help solve the problem or its underlying cause.

‘We are in December, and despite it being the winter period, on a daily basis migrants have their only means of keeping warm taken away from them.’

Read the report in full (French).

A Deadly Border

Every day and night migrants are trying to get across the border. Dangerouslly crossing numerous walls and barbed wire and control systems.  Migrants attempt to cross by hiding in trains, lorries, boats and sometimes even by swimming. They put their lives at risk. 

More than 200 people have died at the border since 1999. Click here to see the map of deaths at the Calais border.


The challenge

The physical location of the border is not in question, nor the location of the border controls. What we oppose is the need for migrants to put their lives at risk in order to cross the UK/French border.

This month there will be a French-British summit where the subject of the Calais border will be discussed.

In order to prevent further tragedies and a humanitarian crisis in Calais, the current arrangement must be renegotiated.

The renegotiation will be the only way to end the current deadlock that puts migrants at risk and life difficult for those living and working in Calais.

MACRON: Stop the deaths at the Calais border

The solution

  1. The EU Member States should respect their legal obligations to safeguard the right to family reunification. As of today, the procedures of family reunification remain rare and are entirely carried out by private actors.
  2. There is an urgent need to establish safe and legal routes for minors, families and the elderly, so that these individuals no longer have to take the risk of crossing illegally. The Dubs amendment relating to the legal transfer of unaccompanied and separated children to the United Kingdom has not fulfilled its quotas.
  3. There needs to be dignified reception centres for all migrants in Dunkirk and Calais while awaiting transfer, to avoid the current unsanitary conditions.
  4. The UK and France should allocate a proportion of the budget for border security in Northern France to child protection and anti-trafficking measures.

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All images copyright of Futuro Berg