Child refugees in limbo after closure of Calais camp

200 unsupervised children have been forced to sleep rough as the UK and France bicker over who should take them in.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Unaccompanied minors are forced to sleep on the streets as France and the UK struggle to decide who should accommodate them.

The dismantling of the Calais refugee camp, also know as 'the jungle', has left refugees with no place to go, a number of them unaccompanied minors.

The refugee camp was dismantled and shutdown earlier this week, leaving 200 unsupervised children sleeping rough around the port town, even though some 1,451 minors have been housed separately near the camp.  

"You can't say the operation is over when there are people left,” said Anne-Louise Coury, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) coordinator in Calais.

"The state still has a serious obligation towards migrants who are minors."

The fate of several dozen children remained of concern late Thursday as the container camp for unaccompanied minors stayed filled to beyond its 1,500 capacity.

The dismantling of the camp has left almost 1,500 refugees with no place to go. (AFP)

Adding to the uncertainty, the UK and France cannot decide who should take them.

“The need for children who remain in Calais to be properly protected” was stressed by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd to France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, according to ITN.

In response, Cazeneuve and his housing minister, Emmanuel Cosse, said, "The French ministers hope the United Kingdom will quickly execute its responsibilities to take in these minors, who hope to come to the United Kingdom. This is the best way to give them the protection they are due."

Thousands of migrants had until this week been camped near Calais in the hope of making the short journey across the sea to Britain by leaping on trucks and trains or by walking through the Channel tunnel.

TRTWorld and agencies