UNHCR welcomes closure of France's "Jungle" camp for refugees and migrants

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A young resident at the so-called Calais ‘jungle’ views the harsh winter landscape of the temporary center, home at times to several thousand persons. Photo: UNHCR/Corentin Fohlen (file photo)

The decision by France to close an informal camp for refugees and migrants has been welcomed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

French authorities announced earlier this month that the so-called "Jungle" camp, located in the port city of Calais, will be closed in the coming days.

The camp has been problematic for several years and UNHCR had long recommended that it be closed.

Dianne Penn reports.

The 6,000 residents of the "Jungle" camp will be moved to other centres where better help can be provided.

The UN Refugee Agency said it is vital that this happens "in a planned and organized manner."

It's estimated that more than 1,200 unaccompanied or separated children were staying at the camp and UNHCR said their best interests must also be taken into consideration.

Here's agency spokesperson, Adrian Edwards:

"It's important that they don't move on to other destinations and risk becoming exploited by human traffickers or ending up living on the streets without any support. Strengthened measures must be taken to reunite children with relatives in Europe, such as the 200 unaccompanied children in Calais identified as having family links in the United Kingdom." 

UNHCR added that asylum seekers will also need to be given proper information and prompt access to asylum procedures. 

Dianne Penn, United Nations. 

Duration: 59"

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