Sunday, September 11, 2016

Catholic Church seeks to help refugees living in squalor in Calais

Image result for secours catholiqueRefugees living in squalor in the 'Jungle' refugee camp on the edge of Calais will now be given clothing and other vital belongings under a new initiative by a French Catholic charity.

Secours Catholique, the social action arm of the Catholic Church in France, on Tuesday announced that asylum seekers would be hosted in a new building in Calais.

"For us, it's about having the ability to receive our migrant friends in a different setting, in town, in a more dignified way," said Vincent de Connick, manager of Secours Catholique in the Calais region.

He said the new building would enable refugees and migrants to get new clothes and items like bicycles, blankets and sleeping bags "where they can have a choice, without needing to queue and with a different type of welcome... which is not possible in the Jungle".

More than 9,000 refugees and migrants are living in the Calais camp, according to the latest census conducted by charities Help Refugees and L'Auberge des Migrants.

At least 800 of these are unaccompanied children, many of whom have made the perilous journey from countries such as Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan without any family.

De Connick previously told Christian Today that "there is no dignity" for those living in the camp. "It's not a normal life," he said.

Today, he urged people to give generously to the new centre in Calais.

"We need donations in quantities because there are 9,000 people and we are short of everything!" he said.

Donations can be delivered on Monday and Wednesday afternoons at 47 rue de Moscou in Calais, or financial contributions can be made through CSAN's website.

Labour peer Lord Alf Dubs this weekend accused the British government of failing young refugees living in the Calais camp.

Having himself fled Nazi Germany as a refugee in 1939, Lord Dubs said he was "disappointed and angry" with Prime Minister Theresa May's government during a visit to the 'Jungle'.

"This is no life for young people, this is no existence," he said."The refugee issue is a major one, refugee children should be dealt with properly under the terms of the immigration act, and we should pressure the government to get on with it. That's the government's obligation and we should push them to doing it."

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