Calais refugees arrive in UK after court ruling

Four refugees from so-called “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais arrive in Britain after landmark court ruling

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

A view of the refugee camp known as the new Jungle in Calais, northern France, October 21, 2015

Four Syrian refugees from Calais refugee camp, also known as the “Jungle” arrived in the United Kingdom on Friday, after a legal ruling which could see more crossing the Channel.

Family members and a crowd of about 100 demonstrators welcomed the three teenagers and a 26 year-old man, who is said to suffer from mental health problems, as they arrived by train to St Pancras station in central London.

The move came after judges on a British immigration tribunal on Wednesday ordered the interior ministry to allow the four to enter Britain while their asylum claims are being considered.

The lawyers of the four men, argued that they were living in “intolerable” conditions for over two months, and due to bureaucratic delays their cases should be heard in the UK.

The men who once thought would they would never reunite with their loved ones experienced emotional moments as they united with their loved ones at the train station.

"I feel so thankful because I would never have imagined I would be reunited with my brother," said a 17 year-old teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

"I want to thank the lawyers who went that extra mile to reunite me and my brother. I feel so thankful."

Ahmed, 26, an older brother of one of the boys who would not give his real name to protect his sibling, said he fled the Syrian civil war and had not seen his brother in two years.

"He is the youngest in my family and I haven't seen him in a long time," Ahmed said ahead of his brother's arrival.

"It is hard to describe how happy I felt when I heard the court's ruling yesterday. It was really, really amazing. It was everything I was waiting for."

The tribunal court cited the European Union legislation, known as Dublin III, where those who have family members living in another European country are eligible to apply to seek asylum there. But they would first need to be processed in the country.

Under the rules, asylum seekers should first claim asylum in France, but the judges agreed that bureaucratic failures meant this rarely happened, and that evidence of a written claim to asylum in France was sufficient.

The interior ministry must now examine claims brought by refugees who have not yet received asylum in France, paving the way for further claims if other vulnerable asylum seekers can prove they have links to Britain.

The ministry, still standing by the rule of claiming asylum said it would "study the full judgement in detail" before making its next move, which may include an appeal.

"Any request to unite family members under the is carefully considered. Where someone seeking asylum elsewhere in the EU can demonstrate they have close family members legally in the UK, we will take responsibility for that claim."

The tribunal's full judgement on the fate of the four asylum seekers is expected "within two weeks".

UK prosecutors go ahead with tunnel case

Prosecutors in the UK on Thursday pressed charges on a Sudanese man who was arrested last year in August for walking the Channel Tunnel from France.

Haroun was charged for causing interference to an engine or carriage using the railway. But his case was put into doubt after he was granted asylum last month.

Eurotunnel train on October 20, 2015

His defense had argued that he qualified for protection under Article 31 of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, of which Britain is a signatory.

The convention states that members "shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened... enter or are present in their territory without authorisation."

Haroun, has pleaded not guilty and the court set a provisional trial date for June. He has been released on bail.

In a separate court hearing, two Iranian men were also arrested after walking through the Channel Tunnel.

Both 25-year-old Payam Moradi Mirahessari and Farein Vahdani, 20, pleaded not guilty to the obstructing charge in October.

TRTWorld and agencies