The Home Secretary has said the UK will be welcoming the first 100 unaccompanied children living in Calais' refugee camp within weeks, after France said Britain is not living up to its moral duty to take in more unaccompanied children.
The Jungle camp has been the source of much controversy as refugees, predominantly from war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East, have endured its squalid conditions in the hope of crossing the border and entering the UK in passing lorries, which has resulted in a number of deaths.
French authorities announced in September that the camp will be shut in the coming weeks, but there are currently no provisions for the 1,022 unaccompanied minors living in the camp. Of these, 178 children have been identified as the having legal right to be reunited with families in the UK, while others will be left to fend for themselves once the camp is demolished.
First child refugees to arrive 'within weeks'
Hundreds of these children will be brought to Britain in the coming months, Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the DailyMail, claiming that the first group of around 100 child refugees would arrive in the UK in the next few weeks.
France and the UK have blamed each other for failing to register the young refugees properly and pledging to give them sanctuary.
France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who is due to visit the English capital on Monday (10 October) to discuss plans to dismantle the camp, is expected to urge the UK to speed up the asylum applications of hundreds of these unaccompanied children, or risk losing the confidence of the French public.
Activists working in France's Calais migrant camp have warned the camp's closure will have dramatic consequences for hundreds of unaccompanied minors, who they fear will either take huge risks to try and enter the UK or simply disappear.
Mary Jones, who is responsible for a charity-run restaurant that provides free warm food for the children in the camp, told IBTimes UK British authorities need to take immediate action regarding minors with links to the UK.
The British teacher urged France to set out plans to ensure children's asylum claims are processed and they are re-housed before the destruction of the camp starts and the children are dispersed. During a partial demolition of the makeshift homes in February this year, aid workers estimated that as many as 100 children disappeared.
Lawyers for charity Help Refugees last week began legal proceedings against the Home Office, saying ministers have breached duties to unaccompanied children, exposing them to serious risks by failing in their obligations to give them sanctuary.