Further to ICN's "Eyewitness" report on 20th September, Peter Sutherland, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Refugees since 2006, current President of the International Catholic Migration Commission, and former Attorney General of Eire, visited Calais on Monday 21 September. His current UN work is centred around the Mediterranean, but he needed to find out what becomes of exiles when they have moved north.
Here are the horrified tweets posted by this experienced observer on that day, and subsequently:
Today I am in the camp in Calais. The conditions are appalling (about 3pm)
The camp is squalid and unacceptable. There are about 3000 in the camp and the majority are refugees. How can govs allow this to persist? (about 5pm)
They are in France but are determined to get into the UK. Why can't the two govs accelerate the asylum process together (about 6pm)
a) The ones deserving credit in Calais are the French and British mini charities who compensate for terrible government inaction
b) Intergovernmental agreements on migrants are all about security. A pity a portion is not spent on the poor migrants in particular in Calais (about 7pm)
a) The first thing the EU should do now is to help the front line States Lebanon Turkey and Jordan by accepting resettlement of refugees.
b) The second thing is all the MS should be reminded strongly that membership of the EU requires common values and internal solidarity
c) Common values require that asylum be given to refugees rather than meeting them with barbed wire and teargas (about 9pm)
a) I cannot easily recover from the shock of Calais.the French and British governments should rapidly respond to the horrible conditions.
b) With the filth has come disease and the place is testimony to the desperation of the people in it. They deserve immediate action.
c) The Camp in Calais is a truly dreadful place. It is an indictment of society that it exists.Why have the media largely moved on? (about midnight)
Those wishing to take part in advocacy and campaigns regarding the worldwide refugee crisis will find useful suggestions and links to further information on the website of the Diocese of Canterbury: www.canterburydiocese.org/refugee-crisis-five-ways-to-respond/
See ICN 20 September 2105 Eyewitness: Visit to the 'Jungle' in Calais www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=28349