FRENCH refugee charities told the government yesterday it was “heading straight into a wall” over its plan to clear the Jungle camp in Calais.
Homelessness charity Emmaus and other organisations working in the camp met Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve again over the government’s stated intention to demolish the sprawling camp, home to up to 10,000 residents, by the year’s end.
The first group of refugees is expected to be moved to reception centres across the country as soon as next week.
Emmaus asked for the closure to be postponed, saying the conditions for an effective and humanitarian relocation have not been created.
“The government is heading straight into a wall,” Emmaus France president Thierry Kuhn said before the meeting.
“We should not bury our heads in the sand; people will come back as long as we can’t offer them a solution adapted to their life plan.”
Religious charity Secours Catholique said it also opposed the clearing the camp.
The government announced plans over the summer to disperse Calais migrants to centres across France, where they would be able to apply for asylum.
But charities and solidarity groups on both sides of the Channel say that those in the Jungle have links to Britain and prefer to settle there.
“The government needs to take its time, otherwise half of the people in the Jungle won’t find a place in the relocation process,” Emmaus official Frederic Amiel said. “They will disperse and return.”