Why has the UK Government abandoned these children?

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By VIEW editor Brian Pelan

There was a rare moment of light relief for the audience at Queen’s University, Belfast, last night, during an otherwise grim documentary about the plight of the Calais children who have been abandoned to fend for themselves in Europe.

Film maker Sue Clayton

Organised by the Immigration Practitioners’ Group, Law Society of Northern Ireland, film maker Sue Clayton told how one of the refugees contacted her to say that he had made it to the best country in the world,

“So, you made it to the UK,” she said.

“No, I made it to Ireland,” he replied.

Calais Children is a powerful film which follows the scandal of what happened to the almost 2000 lone children who were in the Calais Jungle as it burned down in 2016 – most of whom had a legal case to be in the UK.

A legal challenge, called the ZS case, has been mounted in the UK.

ZS is one of the ‘Calais Children’ who has taken the Home Office to court, arguing that the selection criteria for bringing kids to the UK during the demolition of the Jungle in September 2016 was unfair and lacked transparency.

Some of the audience at last night’s screening

A ruling is expected in the next few months.

Ms Clayton who has worked on various child and youth asylum projects over 15 years and for television, said: “I was first sent to the Jungle to do a quick story but I was so completely and utterly shocked to find almost 2000 children in that camp that I stayed and didn’t go back.”

There was complete silence during the screening at Moot Court, QUB, as we watched young children, who were thousands of miles away from their own homes, trying to eke out an existence whilst clinging onto the hope that one day they would make it to the UK. Some of them have died due to their harrowing experience.

Only a relatively small number of the child refugees have been allowed in to the UK.

A Q&A followed the screening which was hosted by BBC Talkback presenter William Crawley.

To find out how you can help, go to http://calais.gebnet.co.uk/about-sue-clayton

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Sue Clayton and lawyer Jamie Bell from the law firm Duncan Lewis who have been helping out in the Calais case

Solicitor Maria McCloskey from the law firm Napier and Sons Solicitors. Maria has previously went to visit the Jungle camp in Calais

Eileen Ewing, the president of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, who addressed the event

 

 

 

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