The Daily Beast today published a story bringing attention to the plight of refugees who are currently trapped in Calais, France, awaiting an opportunity to make it onward to new homes in Europe. The article features commentary from IRAP’s Syria Case Manager, Charlotte Bertal, based in IRAP’s Lebanon office.
A community of approximately 3,000 people seeking to find asylum in Europe has grown up in Calais, and is now referred to as the “Jungle.” The Daily Beast emphasizes the diversity found within the district: “These are not people looking for handouts, they are people looking for hope, and many are well equipped to build lives not only as workers, but as entrepreneurs, if given half a chance. But they are caught in the convoluted politics and legalisms of a continent that needs their youth and energy even as it shuns their ‘foreign’ ways, and often in countries like France where starting a business, in the best of circumstances, is next to impossible.”
The French government, as Bertal explained to The Daily Beast, has not reformed its asylum system in years. The outdated processes make it virtually impossible for anyone to obtain swift protection there. Many refugees seek to start new lives in other European countries, but remain stuck in Calais in the meantime, and build rich lives there even as they plan for new beginnings.
Be sure to read the full piece for a nuanced view of how the refugee crisis is playing out on the ground in Europe – and don’t forget to share with your networks!