Ceredigion MP Mark Williams took part in a delegation organised by the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) to the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais and met with French Parliamentarians to discuss the ongoing crisis.
Commenting on his return, Mark said:
“I wanted to see first-hand the desperate situation in the camp. It is one thing to see the conditions on television, but it is quite another to visit and experience them first-hand.
“Ceredigion residents have been incredibly generous in their support for charity initiatives for the camp and so it was appropriate to go and see the situation myself.
“5,500 people, 60% of them young men, but also including whole families and many unaccompanied children, have been forced to flee desperate situations in their home countries only to find themselves in a different kind of desperation here in Europe. The camp reminded me of the slums of Nairobi that I saw last year. However, it was freezing cold and the spectre of many young men quite literally with nothing to do will stay with me for a long time.
“Amongst their number are many professionals and people with skills and talents that should be put to good use in other European countries.
“Moving forward, the Government must take action, as Save the Children have suggested, on 3,000 unaccompanied children across Europe, and it is vital that the asylum process is sped up.
“I am also mindful that perhaps 250 of the ‘Jungle’ residents have relatives living lawfully in the UK. There are particular challenges in reuniting families who have been split because of the refugee crisis.
“On a more positive note, on my journey back to the UK on the Eurostar, were the four young Syrian boys who have been allowed to come to the UK after the court case won on their behalf by Citizens UK.
“I look to our Government to do more than has been done so far. Certainly the humanitarian aid in the camp has not come from the British Government, yet many millions of pounds has been spent on barbed wire fencing. This must change.”