Who

Bindmans – London-based law firm specializing in humans rights, discrimination.

The Home Office of Britain – Responsible for immigration, counter-terrorism, police, and drug policy

Refugees trapped in the French city of Dunkirk

What – Accounts of children and women being raped by traffickers inside the Dunkirk refugee camp, corroborated by accounts from numerous volunteer and professional sources, has led Bindmans to file a lawsuit against the British Home Office. These accounts detail how both children and women are forced to have sex with traffickers in exchange for blankets, food, an offer of passage into the UK, or nothing as well as traffickers having access to female showers and bathroom stalls. In addition to sexual abuse and rape of women, officials express concerns that the camp has been taken over by traffickers due to a lack of security and organization, putting children, male and female, at greater risk of becoming victims of human trafficking. 

How – Bindmans claims that the Home Office is ignoring child refugees in Dunkirk, which is 40 kilometers from the massive Calais camp which was closed in October of 2016. The Home Office has only agreed to settle minors from the Calais campsite. The legal action states that this approach was arbitrary and ill-willed, an accusation furthered by the Home Office’s decision to end the “Dub’s scheme” for accepting lone child refugees after only 350 out of an expected 3000 children were allowed to enter.

Why – After the closing of the Calais refugee camp, also known as the Jungle, adult refugees were left with few options, the clearest of which was to apply for asylum in France. However, some refugees instead travelled to other refugee camps such as the one in Dunkirk while unaccompanied minors were left behind, unable to register themselves to apply for asylum or to be moved to a safer place. Some of these minors ended up in Dunkirk while others were spread out and 350 were accepted into the UK, where they will be spread out and placed in highly-trained orphanages. 

General Background – As the Syrian war grew larger, more civilians began to flee towards Europe in hopes of finding asylum and begin a new life. These Syrians joined a greater population of refugees from a number of Middle Eastern and African countries currently torn by conflict. Unfortunately, such attempts have been met with a chaotic mix of xenophobia, disorganization and poor preparation. As a result, refugee camps were set up in countries in order to hold refugees until they could be processed. One of the most famous of these camps was Calais, also known as The Jungle. Here, approximately 7,000-8,000 refugees lived in squalid conditions with the hope of somehow reaching the United Kingdom, which Calais borders. It has been reported that the refugees wish to seek asylum in the UK because of a better prospect of work, the language, and a belief that there is better housing and education. In late October 2016, the French government decided to shut down the camp to prevent abuses by traffickers and further chaos. 

What’s Next

For the Dub’s Scheme (resettling lone child refugees) – There will be a debate on February 23 concerning the decision to end the program in which lawmakers hope to force other officials to rethink the cancelation. Two charities, Help Refugees and Citizens UK, have filed a legal challenge against the cancelation to be heard in High Court beginning May 2.

It will remain to be seen if Bindman’s lawsuit against the Home Office will succeed in providing asylum to more unaccompanied minors and bring attention to the atrocities occurring in the Dunkirk refugee camp.

Sources

Original Article – 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/12/dunkirk-child-refugees-risk-sexual-violence

Dub’s Scheme – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/10/why-has-the-uk-ended-its-dubs-child-refugee-scheme

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/11/theresa-may-under-increasing-pressure-to-restart-dubs-scheme

Calais-

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/whats-happened-to-the-calais-jungle-refugees

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37731180

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37745386

Dunkirk-

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2016/01/dunkirk-refugee-camp-life-muddy-uncertainty-160114065617259.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/05/refugees-northern-france-dunkirk-calais-camp-demolished

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/12186407/Frances-first-ever-internationally-recognised-refugee-camp-opens-near-Dunkirk.html

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