Welcome to our latest blog post where we will discuss the ongoing migrant and humanitarian crisis that is currently happening in Northern France. The news story that has dominated headlines has been the situation that immigrants from Northern Africa, the Middle East and Asia are facing in Northern France.
Currently, the situation that the migrants are facing is said to be deteriorating rapidly as they seek increasingly desperate ways to enter the United Kingdom. The last two weeks have witnessed migrants attempting to walk through the channel tunnel as they scale over fences around both established detention centers and makeshift migrant camps.
The tragic reality of the situation is plain for all to see. Whilst it is important to understand that there must be limits to immigration and certain controls in place, ultimately the victims of the crisis are the migrants who are being treated as political footballs on both sides of the English channel. The view from the United Kingdom is that France should be doing more to control the migrants e.g housing them and providing them with adequate living conditions whilst they are in the detention camps. In addition to this, many feel that France should be stricter in regards to policing the migrants and preventing them from from entering the channel tunnel or trying to stow away on lorries bound for Britain.
In a recent yougov poll 40% of the British public feel that the responsibility for the migrants lies with the French government with only 5% thinking that it is the British government’s responsibility. Interestingly, 48% feel that the responsibility is shared between the French and British governments.
On the other side of the channel, 41% of the French public said that the responsibility is shared between both sides of the channel, 33% believe that neither government’s responsbility (only 2% of Brits agree with this) with 11% believing that the responsibilty falls directly on number 10.
In another development relating to the matter, some 67% of Brits would support deploying troops in Calais and 54% of the French public agreed. However, how effective would deploying troops be? Whilst this is obviously difficult to measure there is no doubt that a greater presence of patrols would make it harder for immigrants to try to enter the United Kingdom via the channel tunnel and it is true that the United Kingdom does have a responsibility to protect its boarders.
Having said that, surely, as previously mentioned, the real victims are the migrants themselves? Waiting in poor conditions in migrant camps does not reflect badly on the British and French governments and obviously is no doubt a horrific experience for the migrants themselves.
What conclusions can we draw? Firstly, that more needs to be done to assist the migrants in their current state. A greater humanitarian effort should be made by both governments to ensure that whilst the migrants are awaiting deportation or asylum that they at least can be provided with adequate provisions and living conditions. Secondly, that the French and British governments need to work more closely to try and solve the crisis and not blame each other and, finally, perhaps troops can be deployed but in a humanitarian role to reduce the suffering of the migrants.
5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
0207 118 4546