19 February 2016
Amnesty International has issued a statement calling on the governments of the UK and France to cooperate to allow refugees and migrants currently living in squalid conditions in camps in northern France, who have family links to the UK, to be swiftly identified and transferred there.
Following a three-day visit by Amnesty International to Calais and Dunkirk earlier this month, it was found that many vulnerable individuals had solid legal claims to be reunited with their families in the UK. However, as there is very limited access to information on the asylum procedures in France, or possibilities for family reunion in the UK, people are unaware of their rights and options. This leads many to resort to paying smugglers, or to risk their lives in dangerous attempts to cross the channel irregularly.
Amnesty International calls on the UK and France to implement measures to protect the principle of family unity and swiftly agree on the criteria to be used to assess claims for extended family reunification. In addition, quality information and legal assistance should be made available and proof of family links should not be subject to unnecessary administrative burdens. Furthermore, family reunification claims submitted by children should be assessed with regard to the primary principle of the best interests of the child. Other vulnerable applicants should also receive special treatment.
It urges both states to take seriously the moral, political and legal imperative to share responsibility for the global refugee crisis.
For further information:
- Amnesty International Public Statement, UK and France must cooperate to ensure swift transfer of refugees and migrants with family links to UK (in French here), 15 February 2016
- ECRE Weekly Bulletin, UK ordered to admit four Syrian asylum seekers from ‘the Jungle’ in Calais, 29 January 2016
- EDAL case summary, UK Upper Tribunal assesses Article 8 ECHR violation of unaccompanied minors in Calais, 29 January 2016