As the Calais Camp Closes, The Rights of its Residents Must Be Protected

Following its closure of the Calais refugee camp, known as “The Jungle,” this week, the French government must protect the rights of all asylum-seekers and migrants who had been living there, including unaccompanied children. By some estimates, between 6,000 and 8,000 people (including over 1,000 unaccompanied children) had been living in the camp in unsanitary conditions. Most were hoping to travel to the United Kingdom, their destination of choice. Over the past few days, workers destroyed hundreds of makeshift shelters, delayed only by the multiple fires that burned for hours inside the camp.  In the midst of these chaotic events, dozens of unaccompanied children were left without shelter and their protection and futures are far from clear.


According to figures published by the French government, as of October 26, 4,457 adults had been transferred out of Calais and into reception centers across the country, where they can apply for asylum in France. The French Ministry of Interior announced today that 1451 children had been provided with shelters in a temporary reception center in Calais and elsewhere, and that the United Kingdom (UK) had accepted to transfer 274 unaccompanied children from Calais to the UK.

 "France should not return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment...(and) should pay particular attention to and address the needs of the unaccompanied children... "


As these events unfold, Refugees International calls on the French government to provide people with all relevant information about their rights and options in France, process asylum claims fairly and provide all asylum-seekers with adequate accommodation during the process. Regardless of whether they qualify for international protection, France should not return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, in line with its obligations under European and international law. The French government should pay particular attention to and address the needs of the unaccompanied children who are still in Calais and prioritize their safety and shelter.  The United Kingdom should enable the transfer unaccompanied children with family ties there. The UK should also offer protection to unaccompanied children, regardless of family ties, under a legal provision known as the “Dubs Amendment,” which allows for the relocation of unaccompanied children to the UK from elsewhere in Europe.



Russia’s Role in Syria Raises Questions About Bid for Human Rights Council

The undersigned organizations urge all member states, when deciding which Eastern European candidate to support, to question seriously whether Russia’s role in Syria – which includes supporting and undertaking military actions which have routinely targeted civilians and civilian objects – renders it fit to serve on the UN’s premier inter-governmental human rights institution.

Open Letter to Permanent Representatives to the UN: Recommendations on the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS)

We write to you in advance of the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) urging you to provide details on the progress your country has made on meeting its political, financial and institutional commitments made at last year’s High Level Review of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000)

The Aleppo Tragedy: A Moral Imperative to Act

Despite the joy felt when a young Syrian girl was pulled from Aleppo’s rubble on Friday, the images from the besieged city have been shocking this week – even by the standards of Syria’s horrific war. For the past several days, the internet has been filled with ghastly images of dust-laden corpses left half-buried in the remains of bombed-out buildings. Syrian civilians continue to be killed in the latest round of bombardment by Russian and Syrian forces.  

NGO Letter on El Niño and La Niña

We are writing to thank you for hosting the upcoming 23 September 2016 high level event responding to the impacts of El Niño and mitigating recurring climate risks. Like you, we are alarmed by the weak international response to the El Niño crisis to date, especially given early warnings. We are also concerned that more than a year after warnings of an El Niño, there is a resource gap of $3.4 billion to respond in East and Southern Africa, Asia Pacific, and Central America. 

NGO Letter Opposing Lifting of US Sanctions on Burma

We, the undersigned organizations, write to express our concern regarding the recent report by Human Rights Watch that reveals that the U.S. government “plans to announce the lifting of key sanctions during Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Washington, DC,” beginning on September 13.[1] Despite the marked democratic progress and peacebuilding activities that have taken place in Burma since last November’s election—which we applaud—there remain a number of pressing issues threatening the stability of the country and its most vulnerable people. These issues are deeply concerning as they include the severest of human rights abuses, and progress on these dire matters should be required to lift further sanctions.

U.S. human rights leadership and outcome document for UN High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants

We are writing to express our concern however that the United States is urging revisions to language in the draft outcome document for the September 19, 2016 High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants, currently under negotiation at the United Nations, that are aimed at undermining or would in effect undermine international human rights legal protections for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, including children.

Refugees International statement in advance of the July 20 pledging conference in support of Iraq

We acknowledge and deeply appreciate the U.S. government’s leadership on the humanitarian response in Iraq.  This assistance has saved lives and made a genuine difference in IDPs’ well-being. Nonetheless, a larger group of concerned international donors must get involved in humanitarian assistance to Iraq in order to address the situation more effectively.

Expert Statement on Internally Displaced Persons

We, a group of experts, met at Georgetown University on June 9, 2016 to discuss progress since August 2015, when we last met, in improving responses to the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs).* We gathered as the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre disclosed its latest data on the number of IDPs worldwide. These data show that 2015 was a significant year for internal displacement: there were 19.2 million new cases of internal displacement from natural hazards and over 8 million new cases due to conflict.

Declaración experta sobre desplazados internos

Nosotros, un grupo de expertos, nos reunimos en la Universidad de Georgetown el 9 de junio para discutir nuestros avances desde el 9 de agosto de 2015, la última vez que nos reunimos, con el fin de mejorar las reacciones a los desplazados internos. Convocamos esta reunión cuando el Centro de Monitoreo de Desplazamiento Interno viene de publicar sus últimos datos sobre el número de desplazados al nivel mundial.