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Sudanese children stage protest in France as UK rejects asylum claims

Publié le 19-12-2016

Source :

Auteur : Diane Taylor

« Protest in Biscarrosse comes after UK rejected applications of 39 boys who had previously been in Calais camp

Sudanese children staying in France who have had their applications for asylum rejected by the UK have staged a demonstration to mark their anger at the Home Office’s decision.

The teenagers, who had previously been dispersed from Calais and are staying at a centre in Biscarrosse in south-west France, tried to get into the town centre to launch their protest but were prevented from doing so by the police. They received the news that the UK Home Office had rejected their claims on Friday.

After the police intervention they demonstrated close to their accommodation with placards saying : “Stop racism, we are locked in a cage” and “Please help us, one child wants to sucide” (sic). Another read : “This is not fair some are accepted, some are not. We all have families in the UK. This is a crime against humanity.”

There are 39 boys at the centre who have been told that they cannot come to the UK. The Home Office says that it has given them advice about how to claim asylum in France instead. One 16-year-old boy, Adam, said : “The conditions here are very bad. We managed to stop one child here from committing suicide a few days ago. After we made our protest the staff in the centre were very angry with us. We got a letter from the Home Office saying our cases have been rejected but that we can appeal. I am going to appeal.”

One boy in the centre recorded an audio message appealing for help from the outside world. “This is a message to you guys if you know someone who can help us,” he said. “We don’t have any right to speak out but we are children and we need better help and better support.”

Hundreds of other child asylum seekers across France who had been expecting to come to the UK were also told on Friday of the Home Office decision and given advice on making French applications. Toufique Hossain, the director of public law at the UK-based Duncan Lewis solicitors, said that the 12 children he and his team are representing were informed verbally but given no written reason for the decision, a process he described as “absolutely shocking”.

The Home Office has previously said that it would prioritise under-15s from Sudan and Syria. A spokeswoman confirmed that the transfer of children previously in the Calais camp and now in French reception centres had ended. She said that more unaccompanied children were undergoing initial screening in Italy and Greece and may be brought to the UK. »

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