Child Refugees in Calais
By Matthew Walton, a member of Amnesty's Children's Human Rights Network
Shot on a mobile phone, ‘The New Jungle’ gets up close with the refugee crisis in Northern Europe. Despite the demolition of the infamous ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais, and the media’s sudden silence, this footage proves that reality of refugee camps is far from over.
The film follows three charities: Medical, Shelter and Food, across unofficial refugee camps in Dunkirk, Calais and Brussels, which are each home to over 600 undocumented refugees and growing.
‘The New Jungle’ witnesses the tough challenges faced by aid organisations as they work alongside the contrasting agenda of the local riot police. Life is not easy, and there are perceived rights and wrongs on both sides.
We met a five-year-old girl who has lived in the forest near Dunkirk for over two years. Nearly half of her life has been spent ‘living like a rat’ according to one of her guardians. It is hard to believe that such a situation exists in developed countries.
The last words: ‘we can’t live like this any more’ spoken by a despairing migrant sum up the key message of the film - the desperate need for change. The weather will deteriorate as winter nears – it is only going to get worse.
Refugee faces have been blurred in an effort to conceal identities, whilst all those who are featured consented to be interviewed. Through this film, we hope to open people’s eyes to the current situation, to increase support for aid organisations, and to inspire lasting change.
We are delighted to share this film, which has been selected for the Global Health Film Festival this Winter. The film was made this summer and since then conditions have only gotten worse. The weather is so much colder and yet any form of shelter is still denied. Tents continue to be destroyed, which, in winter conditions, puts real peoples lives at risk.
Claire Mosley, Care for Calais Founder
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.