syrian refugees

Since Wednesday 60 migrants wanting asylum blocked the walkway to the ferry terminal. It took several days before some of them were accepted into temporary shelter. There were many locals out in support of their standoff at the port of Calais, preventing foot passengers from checking in and taking their boats back to the UK.

The High Sherriff came to meet the Syrians. Negotiations were first conducted by an interpreter led by the prefecture. One by one, after emerging from the temporary covering used to protect them from the rain, the Syrian migrants finally accepted the proposal given by the prefect of Calais, and that was emergency accommodation. The prefect said that they could now make requests for asylum in France or head to England if they had family there.

This last proposal was made last Thursday afternoon by the English delegation of British immigration authorities.

Meanwhile, shortly before this crisis, the four Syrian migrants who were on the roof of the ferry terminal in Calais since Friday morning around 7:30 am, threatened to jump if police intervention didn’t calm down. Two of the 60 migrants occupying the terminal walkway since Wednesday were found on the roof during the evacuation attempt by police, blocking it. Two others, dissatisfied with the outcome of a meeting with British officials to discuss their request to go to the United Kingdom, had joined the others during the afternoon. The four men came down to eat and did not go back onto the roof.

Sixty Syrians remained on a pedestrian walkway from the ferry terminal in Calais since Wednesday. Their requests were to go to England. Yet that morning at 7: 30 pm, fifty police and CRS arrived to evacuate them on the advice of the prefect. In protest, two young men were hoisted up from the ferry terminal and threatened to jump if they were forced to disperse.

Negotiations were first conducted by an interpreter led by the prefecture. An emergency shelter was offered to them, but the offer was turned down. The prefect resumed negotiations with them during the good part of Thursday morning.

Denis Robin, a spokesman for the prefect reported to the local newspaper Le Voix du Nord, “Today, the Syrians were present here and were put into a corner that will not change their situation. What we can do is give them a status on French territory, so they no longer have a problem in the immediate future in France, I do not encourage them to settle in France, but to regularize their situation in France.”

He continued, “Knowing that there is 95% success rate for the status in the Syrian situation, coming from a country where a civil war rages. You have to convince them to have a sense of dialogue for accommodation by the statute, the time for a solution with Britain.”

By late morning, on Friday, a British delegation of three people came to Calais to continue discussions directly. Around 13 pm, two Syrians were invited on behalf of their group, to join the negotiating table. They were accompanied by two representatives of the Catholic Relief Services and a representative of Doctors of the World. At the meeting, held inside the ferry terminal, they found the prefect, member of the French Immigration Office (FIO), representatives of the British immigration authorities, and the mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart.

After the meeting, the prefect said that the British could not accommodate all of the Syrians, but they agreed to study each case that was given to them which stated that they had family ties in Britain. On the French side, the prefect said that the welfare of the Syrian nationals would be considered as extremely urgent.

After a few moments of confusion, one of the men present appeared to become distressed and threatened to throw himself off of the roof terminal, but was restrained. Later during the day, a security cordon was put in place to remove the members of the press off site. It wasn’t long before the walkway was cleared, and the police presence was no longer necessary.

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