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UK should take in more children from Calais, urges Archbishop

Tue 01 Mar 2016
By Alex Williams

Justin Welby has called upon the British government to accept more unaccompanied children from the migrant camp in Calais known as the Jungle into the country.

While acknowledging the French authorities faced a difficult situation, the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed it was "significantly more difficult" for the 300 children at the Jungle without an accompanying adult.

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Speaking in the House of Lords during question time, he said: "Issues of compassion should easily trump issues of administrative efficiency and tidiness. We should take more children very quickly."

Meanwhile, the treatment of migrants and refugees by French police in the Jungle is being branded "appalling" and "inhumane" by a Christian politician in the UK.

AP Photo/Jerome Delay

David Burrowes says he visited with a number of his constituents yesterday as officers began to dismantle shelters in the southern section of the site in Calais.

The Conservative representative for Enfield Southgate criticised officers for using water cannon, tear gas and plastic bullets in clashes which errupted with migrants.

AP Photo/Jerome Delay

Teams equipped with hammers and chainsaws returned today to dismantle settlements, prompting migrants and refugees to protests from the rooftops of their homes.

Speaking on Premier Christian Radio's News Hour, David Burrowes said: "The idea now behind the French authorities' [actions] is to move people into containers or into reception centres which, in theory, sounds a good idea and is a belated response to the appalling situation that is on their doorsteps but, unfortunately, there is a lack of humanatarian concern.

"The attitude of the authorities yesterday which I witnessed was, I think, inhumane and appalling. Using tear gas, riot police, plastic bullets and water cannons is not the way to deal with a humanitarian concern and crisis."

AP Photo/Jerome Delay

A court in Lille last week approving the site's partial clearance and French authorities want to relocate people from the rat-infested, squalid area to containers or centres nearby or elsewhere in France, where they can apply for asylum.

Aid workers and campaigners have raised concern the number of people affected by this week's eviction has been vastly under-estimated.

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

They have also called for the eviction to be postponed, arguing there is not enough new accommodation for people to move to.

Meanwhile, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) in the UK welcomed the Lille court's judgement and claims disruptions caused by migrants cost the country's freight industry last year an estimated £750,000 everyday.

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