As the sun sets on Calais, a new barbed wire fence glints in the evening light, casting a shadow over the growing migrant camp known as the “New Jungle”.
Through the thick undergrowth of what was once an industrial dumping ground, tents and tarpaulin structures stretch into the distance. These are the makeshift homes currently providing insufficient shelter from the elements for more than 3,000 refugees. On the other side of the fence, cars and lorries trundle towards the port of Calais – and the northern edge of the Schengen Area, where people can move freely across much of Europe. Read more
It is easy to send a camera crew to get footage of a group of migrants breaching the fences at Coquelles regardless of whether they manage to get lucky and subsequently jump on a train. Photograph: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images
“Cockroaches” according to Katie Price. A “swarm” according to our likeminded Prime Minister, David Cameron, and The Daily Mail(again). An “army” according to the popular press, who seem to think we should literally send troops into France (without asking the French, we can assume) to hold the thin red line. But what do we know about who these people are — brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children, all of them — and why they want to come to the UK?
Back in 2002, at the height of the previous Calais hysteria, the Home Office commissioned some respected researchers to ask some of people themselves. Their answers are still the best information we have. Some of the nationalities have changed but the motivations are probably perennial.
But first, some numbers and some perspective. Read more
Attempts by migrants to reach Britain have reached an all time high as hundreds of people rushed the Channel Tunnel for a third night in chaotic scenes on Wednesday.
The reasons for the crisis are many, global and complex, with experts believing that a series of factors over the last twelve months have caused a global increase in migrants “unprecedented since the World War II era”, leading to a “perfect storm” on Britain’s doorstep.
Prime Minister David Cameron promised that the Government “will do everything we can” to improve the situation, including spending £7 million on fencing at the Eurotunnel terminal.
Few places on Earth are as free from legal oversight as the high seas. One ship has been among the most persistent offenders. By IAN URBINA
CHIOS, Greece — The rickety raft made of empty oil drums and a wooden tabletop rolled and pitched with the waves while tied to the side of the Dona Liberta, a 370-foot cargo ship anchored far from land in the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa. Read more
Amnesty International briefing: Syrian Refugees Activists around the UK have been campaigning tirelessly on the Syrian refugee resettlement issue. We’ve been raising this issue through protest actions, the #OpenToSyria online photo action, lobbying local councils to find places for Syrian families, and writing to MPs and Government ministers.
Here are a few facts and figures which may be useful if you’re talking about Syrian refugees. Read more
HMS Enterprise was sent out in place of much larger vessel that saved nearly 5,000, as David Cameron insisted UK would continue to play full role
The Royal Navy ship sent to replace the former flagship, HMS Bulwark, on search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean a month ago has yet to rescue any migrants, the Ministry of Defence has said. Read more
The Home Office is evaluating the Right to Rent pilot in the Midlands and JCWI and MAX are working with partners to carry out an independent evaluation. Meanwhile, the Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group have written to Lord Best outlining their concerns over the impact that the implementation of this measure will have on refused asylum seekers. Refused asylum seekers often live in rented accommodation (supported by relatives, friends or a charity) while considering what to do next and the Act will make this illegal. For more information see:http://cityofsanctuary.org/2015/07/14/new-destitution-concerns-re-the-planned-implementation-of-the-right-to-rent/ : Read more
On 16 July, the Home Office wrote to NASF members outlining why it decided to reduce the rates of support to asylum seeking families. The Home Office also made available the Policy Equality Statement which accompanied the review of support rates. Both documents are attached as files
On 21 July, David Hanson MP, Shadow Immigration Minister, formally opposed the regulations which brought in the cuts to asylum support. This is done by tabling an EDM which prays against the regulations, see: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/340. This EDM is supported by MPs from the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
Shortly afterwards, John McDonnell MP tabled a separate EDM opposing the cuts. This EDM specifically call for the Government to withdraw the cut and for a parliamentary debate to be held on the issue. For the full text see:http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/344. This EDM (No.344) has 27 signatures to date (17 of which are from the SNP) and is one that backbench MPs can sign to show their concern over the impact the cuts will have on asylum seeking families with children.