'Protect vulnerable children in Calais'
Lynn Green calls for urgent action as she writes to Home Secretary Amber Rudd and all churches ahead of the planned dismantling of the Calais jungle
The Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, has issued an urgent call for local churches to act to protect vulnerable children whose safety and wellbeing is at serious risk if plans to dismantle what has come to be known as the “Calais Jungle” go ahead.
She has also written to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, to express her concerns and call for urgent action to expedite their asylum claims.
In an email on Friday afternoon, she invited minister to pray about the situation and consider writing to their MPs.
Lynn explained how she had asked the Home Secretary to expediate the asylum claims of the unaccompanied children in the Calais Jungle. Around 400 have a legal right to be in the UK.
She said, 'Today I have written to the Home Secretary in response to the news that the French Government intends to dismantle the Calais camps, with the intent of relocating their inhabitants. This means that once again children will be placed at risk, and indeed there is evidence that some are already fleeing the camps in fear of these consequences.
'Children who will become more vulnerable and at risk of harm than they already are. I have urged her to expedite the processing and relocation of these children in the UK, many of whom already have relatives living here.
'I want to invite you to join me in this action, by praying for a positive response to my letter, by praying for all those affected by this ongoing crisis, and by contacting your own MP to give strength to the campaign to protect these children from further harm.'
On Monday, Ms Rudd had a two hour meeting with her French counterpart. She later told MPs that the French authorities had agreed to verify by the end of this week a list of 387 child refugees with a legal right to come to the UK drawn up by the campaign group Citizens UK. 'Once we have that official list we will move quickly within days and remove very quickly those children,' she said. A dedicated Home Office team has been set up to process the transfers.
She refused to put a figure on the numbers, but in an interview with the Daily Mail had suggested that if 300 child refugees came to the UK that would be 'a really good result'.
Baptist churches in both the UK and throughout Europe have been working together to provide practical support in the face of the current migrant crisis as well as campaigning for a fair, just and effective response from governments. Several UK Baptists have visited the camp at Calais or offered humanitarian aid to those who live there. The concerns expressed on behalf of the Baptist community arise from this on-the-ground experience.