UK must 'do their part' for Calais children

French President Francois Hollande has urged the UK to do more to help the migrant children from the Calais “Jungle” camp.

Mr Hollande said he had spoken with Prime Minister Theresa May about the issue and how the migrant children should be welcomed.

His comments come after a week of tension between France and Britain over how to take care of them after bulldozers flattened the camp that had been home to about 6,000 refugees and migrants.

Volunteer firefighters attempt to extinguish blazing migrant camp in Calais
Chaotic scenes in Calais as camp burns

Mr Hollande said there were 1,500 unaccompanied minors left, who would be transferred to reception centres in France.

He said: “I talked yesterday with the British prime minister, as (French Interior Minister) Bernard Cazeneuve did with his British counterpart, so that the UK can accompany these minors to the centres and do their part to accompany them to the UK.

“So over a short period of time, we will be able to evacuate the totality of what was called the camp of Calais.”

Mr Hollande added that his country “cannot tolerate” the camps, as they were “not worthy” of France.

French officials said the clearance of the camp was complete on Wednesday, following a two-day operation.

On Thursday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd was quoted as telling France it must guarantee the protection of the youngsters.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd
Home Secretary: ‘Calais is the symptom of a wider migration crisis’

The issue is sensitive in both countries and the head of France’s Ofpra refugee agency, Pascal Brice, responded bluntly on Friday: “We’ve done Britain’s work in tending to the adults.

“The least they can do is take care of the isolated minors who are now at the CAP (temporary lodgings) and who have an interest in going to Britain.”

EU rules say Britain must take in unaccompanied children who have family ties in the country.

An amendment to those rules adopted this year states that such minors whose best interests are served by doing so should also be admitted.

Britain has so far accepted 274 children from among this group, France said on Thursday.

Great Torrington
Calais child migrants arrive in Devon town

Meanwhile, Barbara Winton, whose father Nicholas organised the rescue of 669 children from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War, delivered her plea to Britain.

She said: “Now, 77 years later, vulnerable young refugees again seek the kindness and welcome that British people previously offered. 

“Those who have travelled across Europe to Calais, to escape the life-threatening dangers of their home country, are hoping desperately to find the sanctuary their parents dared to believe Britain would once again offer.”

Among those saved by Mr Winton was Lord Dubs, who helped secure a commitment from the Government to accept more lone child refugees in an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016.

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