Human Rights Watch calls on the UK and France to do more for unaccompanied children from Calais

The organistion found that "the process for children to seek transfer to the UK has been non-transparent and arbitrary"

Human Rights Watch calls on the UK and France to do more for unaccompanied children from Calais

Migrants walk on the remains of the makeshift migrant camp known as "the jungle" near Calais, France. Image: Thibault Camus AP/Press Association Images

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the governments of both the UK and France to do more for unaccompanied children who were previously removed from the Calais "jungle."

The organisation has called on the two governments to make use of all existing laws and regulations to "accept transfers of unaccompanied migrant children currently in France," adding that "The government of France should ensure that unaccompanied migrant children on French territory have full access to asylum procedures, mental health support, and other essential services."

Juliane Kippenberg, associate children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch said: “Many unaccompanied migrant children in France are desperate and want nothing more than to join their relatives in the UK.

"In the absence of any meaningful hope that their status will be resolved soon, there is a real risk that some of them will leave their shelters to reach the UK, risking homelessness, exploitation, and violence,” she added. 

The organisation notes that there were an estimated 1,900 unaccompanied children from the jungle camp who hoped to reach the UK.

HRW found that "that the process for children to seek transfer to the UK has been non-transparent and arbitrary, and that children’s mental health has suffered."

The organisation also noted that: "Some children also said they had experienced abuse from French police, other migrants, or ordinary French citizens while in Calais.

"In one center, local residents attacked unaccompanied minors, making racist remarks or throwing bottles at them on several occasions. The children decided to stay on the premises as they feared further attacks."