Calais prefect responds to message on children

Calais/unaccompanied minors – Statement by the préfète of Pas-de-Calais

Calais, 9 April 2016

Mme Fabienne Buccio, préfète [high-ranking state representative at departmental level] of Pas-de-Calais, was astonished to learn of the message from the Children’s Commissioner in the United Kingdom calling on the French authorities to speed up the processing of cases of unaccompanied foreign minors in the camp outside Calais who have family ties in the UK and could therefore be legally reunited with their close relatives.

Neither the nine-month processing time mentioned nor the allegation that these minors are not registered and sheltered have any basis in reality.

The préfète of Pas-de-Calais recalls that during the Franco-British summit of 3 March 2016, François Hollande and David Cameron announced enhanced cooperation between our two countries to deal with this delicate issue. This cooperation has led, among other things, to the French authorities hosting a British asylum official, thus enabling simplified procedures to be put in place and cases to be speeded up. One month since this mission began, the British authorities have agreed in 24 cases to transfers under the Dublin III Regulation, 22 of which relate to unaccompanied minors. Twelve have already travelled to the UK; the others will do so in the coming days. An outstanding job has thus been done, in a spirit of full partnership.

Efforts to register, shelter and transfer those minors eligible to be reunited with their families in the UK will continue with the same determination, as will accommodation efforts being made in Calais on a more general level, which have enabled the camp’s population to be reduced from 6,000 to 3,500 in the space of a few months.

Published on 18/04/2016

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