Home Affairs Select Committee visits Calais
Yesterday we were delighted to host members of the Home Affairs Select Committee in Calais. Diana Johnson James Daly MP Lee Anderson MP Simon Fell MP and Tim Loughton MP came to a site in Calais where we distributed power banks, provided phone charging and hot drinks and other services, and introduced the members to the refugees. As you can see, Diana even sat down to a game of Connect 4.
We very much welcomed the MPs taking the trouble to come out and see the situation for themselves. They each listened as the refugees here told their stories and explained the situation. We also walked around one of the areas where people sleep so the members could see for themselves the harsh reality of Calais: sleeping rough on dirt scrubland, with no sanitation or support. It had been – 4 the night before and, in the 2 hours we were on site, the cold sank into us. I hope the MPs could imagine what living outside 24/7 would mean.
We then had some time to talk to the Committee back at the hotel. To explain that over our many years of experience on the ground we have talked to thousands of refugees. That they don’t leave their homes by choice and they all wish they could return. They don’t want to rebuild their lives on a faraway continent where everything is as foreign to them as living in China or Afghanistan would be to us.
We told them that many of the people we work with are from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Sudan. Countries ravaged by conflicts just as terrible as that in Ukraine. That they would have a high probability of being given asylum if their claims were actually heard in the UK. If we truly do not want to give asylum to people such as this why did the UK sign the refugee convention in the first place?
I hope that having come here themselves, and heard from refugees, these MPs will go back to the UK and tell their colleagues the truth. And that truth is that the only way to stop small boats crossing the Channel is to give safe passage to refugees in Calais. If action is not taken soon, more people will surely drown.
Read more at Care4Calais.org/safe passage