ECRE member France terre d’asile has launched a campaign called #ReunissezLes, #ReuniteThem to raise awareness about the plight of hundreds of unaccompanied children living in Calais. In the campaign, they are portrayed as superheroes on a mission filled with obstacles: reuniting with a family member in the UK. They have come far, survived long and dangerous journeys, crossed several borders, being faced with discrimination and in some cases police violence, they are all now stuck in Calais, alone and facing great dangers, such as exploitation by criminal networks.

According to a recent census carried out by France terre d’asile, the majority of the over 340 unaccompanied children in Calais come from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan and they are mostly between 15 and 17 years old, but the youngest is only 10. Many of them have family in the UK and according to Art. 8 of the Dublin III Regulation, the asylum claim of an unaccompanied child should be examined by the country where a family member resides.

Through the campaign petition, France terre d’asile is calling on the British and French government to allow the children to reunite with their families legally and safely, according to EU law. The campaign is supported by many organisations in France and the UK, as well as ECRE and many independent individuals.

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 10 June 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.