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Citizens of ‘Jungle’ Camp.. Victims of Wars | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Christian migrants from Eritrea and Ethiopia attend the Sunday mass at the makeshift church in “The New Jungle” near Calais, France, August 2, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Calais (North France)- Many have written about the camp, which is known as “the Jungle,” and was built at the northern area in Calais, whose port is only 42 km away from Britain.

French and global media have continuously published pictures of those desperate people living in this camp. Majority of them are put in youth category, there are children without their families, and women are minorities there.

Conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have forced millions to abandon their homes and flee to Europe seeking a better life.

The situation in Calais is part of a wider migration crisis in Europe – caused largely by the displacement of people from war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea, and also North Africa.

Most of the migrants in Calais have fled violence in countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Many want to claim asylum in the UK, and others want to enter the country incognito to remain as illegal workers. Since the closure of an official migrant camp in nearby Sangatte in 2002, a number of “jungle” camps have been established.

Sadly, France will begin dismantling the Jungle migrant camp in the port of Calais on Monday morning.

Authorities say some 7,000 people live in the camp in squalid conditions, yet humanitarian groups say the number is closer to 10,000.

President Francois Hollande has pledged to move most of the migrants into new accommodation around the country as they will be offered placements in refugee centers.

According to Human Rights Watch, about 300 to 400 of the unaccompanied minors in Calais would qualify to enter the UK under European asylum regulations, based on family ties. Unofficial refugee camps will swell rapidly in the aftermath of the razing of the Calais Jungle camp, British aid volunteers have warned.

Many believe that this solution would not help solve the crisis – instead refugees would return to the area to live in other camps with even worse conditions.

The Jungle has played host to scenes of both squalor and of violence as migrants attempt to board lorries bound for the UK, as they approach ports or the Channel Tunnel, clashing with drivers and police in the process.

Attempts by migrants to cross the Channel from France into England continue unabated, causing delays and disruption to train services. Migrants perceive Britain as a “soft touch” for benefits, and a better place than France to find jobs in the black economy segment.

Most migrants want to make the move because they believe there is a better prospect of finding work in the UK, or because they speak English and want to use the language. Others have relatives in the UK, or are drawn by a belief that there is better housing and education available.

French and UK authorities, and cross-Channel operators, continue to bring in measures to improve security, but migrants are still breaching barriers.

A UK-funded wall 1km (0.6 miles) long, known as the “National Barrier Asset,” is being built along the main road to the port around the terminal at Coquelles in an attempt to deter would-be escapees.

The port is now protected by 16ft (5m) fences topped with coils of razor wire and Closed-circuit television (CCTV); with the gates and exterior guarded by heavily-armed French riot police.