THE Bishop of Barking, the Rt Revd Peter Hill, has welcomed a ruling by immigration judges that four Syrians in the refugee camp in Calais known as “the Jungle” should be brought to the UK immediately, to join their relatives.
Last week, Judge Mark Ockelton and Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey ordered that three Syrian teenagers, and the 26-year-old brother of one of the three, who suffers from a mental illness, should, under Dublin 3 Regulations, be allowed to live with their relatives in the UK while their asylum claims are examined.
“This is a fantastic outcome for vulnerable child refugees in Calais,” Bishop Hill said on Thursday of last week. “Hopefully, it puts an end to the unjust and damaging inaction of both the British and French Governments.”
The case rested on a clause in the Dublin 3 Regulations, under which minors who have a nuclear-family member in a particular EU country can claim asylum there, even if they have entered Europe via another safe country.
The four Syrians were greeted by their families, and campaigners, at St Pancras station on Sunday. They had arrived at the camp in Calais in October, after fleeing from Syria in September, and had applied to the Government to take charge of their asylum claims, which would allow them to live in the UK.
The Home Office rejected their applications under the Regulations, which they said would allow the Syrians to join relatives in the UK only if they had already applied for asylum in France, and if there was an official request from Paris.
The Syrians’ lawyers successfully challenged the decision in a judicial review, arguing that the Dublin system was not working.
The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, supported the decision on Monday, and criticised the Government for not doing enough for the refugees in Calais. The French and UK governments should be “more human”, he said.
Mr Corbyn visited the camps on Saturday, days after the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) led a group of Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians to speak to its inhabitants. They were joined by CSAN’s sister organisation Secours Catholique, and French politicians.
On Sunday, the International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, said that the Government are considering ways to help the estimated 3000 children in Europe who fled the conflict in Syria without parents or guardians.