Wythenshawe MP Mike Kane visits Calais “jungle” in mission calling for action to help refugees

-xO4l9Z-_400x400Wythenshawe MP, Mike Kane has called for action to help refugees living in “dire conditions” in the Calais “jungle” after returning from a cross-party delegation there.

The Labour MP visited the camp, housing 6000 men, women and children, as part of delegation organised by  CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) – the domestic social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

While he was there, Mr Kane, who is also Labour’s Shadow Minister for International Development of an Iraqi national who has the right to settle in Britain after fleeing persecution, but whose identity papers were stolen.

Mr Kane said: “A small number of people have settled in my constituency and settled well and this is something which should be celebrated and worked towards. All we do by denying people the right to freely move around is drive them into the hands of people traffickers. We need to remember they are human beings with rights and dignity. We must work harder to imagine the world as it could be.”

The delegation to the camp said they were appalled by the conditions refugees, including many children were living in.

And after returning to Britain, Mr Kane told fellow MPs he was heartbroken by the what he had witnessed. He said in Parliament: “It would be the same for people no matter what side of the argument they are on. From a round table with Secours Catholique and the Caritas Social Action Network, we understand that 200 to 300 families with many children probably have leave to remain in the UK but do not know their legal rights. Will the Minister commit to putting a legal resource into that camp to help those families to avoid the traffickers, because they have the right to come here in the first place?”


CSAN CEO Dr Philip McCarthy said: “The residents of the camp live in deplorable conditions, with little access to basic needs such as food, bathing and warmth. Despite this there are small hubs of activity throughout; people setting up shops, churches and restaurants which highlights that these people want to be able to rebuild their lives and that there is still hope in the camp.”

Other visitors to the camp have reported French police attacking the refugees with rubber bullets and tear gas. The artist Banksy installed a mural next to the French embassy based on the Les Miserables poster depicting a girl with tears in her eyes with  a tear gas canister beneath her. The mural has now been boarded up by a building firm.

And today, Prime Minister sparked outrage by dismissing the refugees as “a bunch of migrants”. His comments were described as “disappointing” by the Refugee Council which called on him to show political leadership in response to the “desperate” situation.




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