calais jungle camp
A migrant walks among tents in a muddy field at a camp of makeshift shelters for migrants and asylum-seekers from Iraq, Kurdistan, Iran and Syria, called the Grande Synthe jungle, near Calais, FranceYves Herman/ Reuters

The French government has been given the go-ahead by a court in Lille to clear the Jungle migrant camp near the port of Calais.

Authorities imposed a deadline on the 2,000 or so migrants from across the Middle East, Asia and Africa to vacate the camp on 23 February, however a challenge to the order postponed the ultimatum.

The camp, which saw its numbers swell to well to more than 5,000 people in the summer of 2015, has been gradually cleared by a third over the past month, with sporadic police violence against migrants reported by activists throughout the process.

The migrants, most of whom hope to illegally enter Britain from the camp by smuggling aboard ferries or Eurotunnel freight trains, have been asked by French authorities to move into containers.

Activists in Calais have said people are reticent to move into the heated shipping containers because it requires them to register, a process they fear will stop them from going to the UK. Rights groups have also argued the destruction of the camp will disperse hundreds of unaccompanied children living there. They are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and other abuse.

The Calais prefecture has said places of worship that have sprung up in the camp and include mosques and a church should not be demolished, the BBC reported. However, during clearing earlier in February, two places of worship were destroyed.