Our field teams in Europe are continuing to help children to access safe and legal routes to asylum. We’ve just had the latest reports in from our teams in Greece, Italy and France.
In France, local NGOs estimate that over 650 people are now sleeping rough in Calais and in the surrounding woods, with a similar number near Dunkirk. Around one third are unaccompanied minors, about half of whom claim to have family links to the UK.
Conditions in Calais are now far worse than the “Jungle” ever was. Children have no tents or bedding, and no access to water or sanitation facilities. They sleep rough in the woods with the threat of police brutality and attack every night.
Of the 1,900 children taken from Calais to specialist centres after the demolition of the camp, around 700 were brought to Britain, the others were rejected. Thanks to your help, Safe Passage was able to take on the cases of nine of these children with our legal partners. We won each case, seeing the children transferred and setting a strong legal precedent.
At the moment, we are supporting 30 children at the moment across France (as far away as Corsica!), with the youngest unaccompanied minor just three years old.
Italy saw very high numbers of refugees arriving in the first half of the year, with 11,000 people landing in just five days – almost half of whom were children. Safe Passage has managed to transfer successfully two children with their families in the UK. They were the only children ever to be transferred safely and legally to their families from Italy.
Last week Daniel, a young Eritrean boy, was successfully transferred from Italy with his family here in the UK thanks to Safe Passage legal team’s great work.
Currently, we have 19 cases we are working on, three of which are trying to reach family in Germany and four of whom are trying to reach Switzerland – our first non-UK destination cases.
In Greece, in order to improve access to asylum for children, we are training Greek practitioners in Athens and on the island of Chios. We have also won a case for immediate transfer of a boy from Lesvos to his brother in the UK, through a UK court order challenging the inaccessibility of legal rights from the islands and challenging his unfair Greek age assessment which saw him designated as an adult.
With your help, Safe Passage is helping unaccompanied children to access safe routes to sanctuary as well as making family reunion processes faster and more efficient for refugee children across Europe.