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Monday, March 27, 2017

Articles related to Phil Kerton


Calais: Things have never been so tough
Calais: Things have never been so tough

News from those working in Calais is that things have never been so tough. The French 'welcome centres' distributed across the country may have provided a solution for some people, but for those where it didn't, conditions are worse than the Jungle ever was. There are hundreds of refugees, mostly minors, sleeping rough on the streets of Calais and Paris with no access to

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Vatican official visits agencies working with refugees
Vatican official visits agencies working with refugees

Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo of the Migrants and Refugees section of the Vatican's new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development visited CAFOD and Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) this week, to hear about their work with refugees. In particular, Mgr Figueiredo was interested in the work of CSAN member Seeking Sanctuary and their grassroots work delivering material aid to refugees at Calais and raising

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Campaigners urge Theresa May not to abandon lone child refugees  + PETITION
Campaigners urge Theresa May not to abandon lone child refugees + PETITION

Charities and groups working with unaccompanied child refugees have expressed grave concern after the government announced yesterday that it cancelled plans to bring 3,000 children to the UK. Phil Kerton, from Seeking Sanctuary, which works with Secours Catholique in Calais offering food, clothing and basic medical help to refugees, appealed for "individuals and faith groups to speak out, preferably by writing to their MPs and asking them to make the Home Secretary aware of their concerns."

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Seeking Sanctuary - update on Calais refugees
Seeking Sanctuary - update on Calais refugees

All the reports we heard point to the fact that the crisis in Calais has not gone away - it has merely gone underground. Estimates vary but it is thought that between 200 and 800 people have newly arrived or have left the CAO centres to which they were transported in various locations across France, and have returned to Calais. Here, they are eking out a fragile existence in disused warehouses, in fields and ditches and in other spots where they cannot be seen since otherwise they risk arrest by the Police who are still very active.

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Calais: A new chapter starts
Calais: A new chapter starts

I set off to drive to Dover on the last day of November to make my first visit to Calais since the destruction of the 'Jungle' camp. The temperature was permanently below zero as I headed East along the A2 and M2, with the blinding morning sun ahead of me. I had already packed goods from a variety donors into the car and met up with Ben and his son to add an even larger quantity principally collected by the people of St Aidan's church in Coulsdon. Ben also handed over a large amount of cash which had been raised in recent weeks to support the continuing work in Calais.

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Campaigners voice fears over impending clearance of Calais 'Jungle'
Campaigners voice fears over impending clearance of Calais 'Jungle'

..."The plans may appear sound, but France's track record in implementing government plans is poor. The "evacuation" of the southern part of the camp in May was supposed to proceed with calm, with due respect for human rights and without the use of force. Instead a considerable force of riot police arrived with their usual supplies of tear-gas, backed up by bulldozers and people were instructed - in language that many did not comprehend - to immediately leave their dwellings or be forcibly evicted. A mosque and a church were demolished and attempts to observe and record events were

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Seeking Sanctuary appeals for action from everyone on child refugees
Seeking Sanctuary appeals for action from everyone on child refugees

Thanks to Lord Dubs and his supporters, the 2016 Immigration Act obliges the government to take action to help unaccompanied refugee children who are already in Europe to come and resettle in the UK. But Phil Kerton and Ben Beno from the charity Seeking Sanctuary have expressed concern that time is passing and children are still on their own in potentially dangerous situations - living in poor conditions with inadequate shelter, hygiene and nutrition, missing out on education and secure home life essential to their development.

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Calais refugees: 129 children missing
Calais refugees: 129 children missing

As the better weather sets in our thoughts turn to all our friends who are still without proper shelter in Northern France. Since the recent clearance of the southern part of the Calais 'jungle', many people are now in even worse conditions as they seek to survive crammed in to in the remaining part of the camp. The clearance has left the Eritrean Church 'high and dry' and no longer the focal point of the Eritrean community which it has been up to now.

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Urgent appeal from Calais: Please do not stop bringing aid!
Urgent appeal from Calais: Please do not stop bringing aid!

There is a crisis of aid supplies in Calais right now. Because of the demolition of the 'Jungle' people assume Calais is 'over' and they've stopped bringing donations, BUT there are thousands of people still there and need help more than ever. On Monday, 1,300 people in Dunkirk started to move into a new MSF-built camp. However, due to the risk of scabies, people will not be able to bring their possessions or clothes with them from the previous unhealthy site. This means that a new set of clothes, boots, sleeping bag - and

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Calais - Charity says: 'Bring the children to sanctuary and safety'
Calais - Charity says: 'Bring the children to sanctuary and safety'

The charity Seeking Sanctuary, which organises basic humanitarian assistance for the refugees and migrants in the Calais 'Jungle' through Faith Communities and Community Organisations in partnership with experienced aid agencies such as 'Secours Catholique' - said in a statement today: 'We support the recent comments of the Bishop of Dover condemning the use of tear gas near children present in the Calais "Jungle" camp. We are very concerned for the welfare of unaccompanied minors in Calais, some of who are as young as ten,

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Care4Calais condemns French authorities' harsh evictions in Calais Jungle
Care4Calais condemns French authorities' harsh evictions in Calais Jungle

...In a press conference last week the Prefecture assured journalists that the dismantling of the southern part of the camp would be gradual, humane and respectful to the dignity of the people living in the camp. The Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazenove, reiterated this insisting the approach would be humanitarian. The lawyer from the Prefecture at the hearing last Tuesday said that the two key reasons for evacuating the Jungle were the dignity of refugees and their security.

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   Seeking Sanctuary says
Seeking Sanctuary says "No" to enforced expulsions in Calais

.."In an inhumane and clumsy measure, taking place in the bleakest of winter weather, French authorities are about to clear a large area of the Calais "Jungle" camp. This adds to the January clearance that culminated in the destruction of a church and a mosque. On that occasion most dwellings were moved into vacant spaces, but that solution cannot be applied now because the area to be evicted is too big, and the remaining vacant area is too small to accept more residents...

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Refugees in northern France - recent developments
Refugees in northern France - recent developments

Weather in the Nord-pas-de-Calais region has been wet and windy for several weeks, turning the ground in refugee camps into a swamp and damaging tents and shelters that have only a precarious anchor to this ground. Even if there were sufficient places to wash and shower, it is almost impossible to remain clean, warm and dry. In January, daytime temperatures have been below zero for successive days and lower still at night. Numbers on the ground at Calais have dropped, with officials claiming that over 1,900 have promised to abandon plans to reach the UK and been

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Calais: New Year letter from Seeking Sanctuary
Calais: New Year letter from Seeking Sanctuary

2015 has passed by with no sign of significant improvements to the situation in Calais. There has been an amazing increase in the number residing near the town. Official figures put the population at just under 1000 in July 2014, and this more than doubled by November, remaining below about 2500 until June 2015. A further1000 arrived by September and then mushroomed again to at least 6000. Conditions were dire when a "Day of Solidarity" took place on 19 September and the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Migration visited

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Fire at 'The Jungle' in Calais
Fire at 'The Jungle' in Calais

A fire broke out at 'The Jungle' refugee camp in Calais yesterday morning. No one has been been seriously injured but 70 tents were destroyed. Phil Kerton, from the Kent-based charity Seeking Sanctuary sends this report: A fire broke out amonst closely crowded tents in the 'Sudanese quarter' at around 00.45am this morning. The cause of the fire appears to be people drifting off to sleep leaving a candle alight. Fire spread quickly due to the wind and people were running around trying to evacuate the area and get people to safety.

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Calais: Risk of cholera in refugee camp as conditions worsen
Calais: Risk of cholera in refugee camp as conditions worsen

A report from Birmingham University reveals not just the squalor but dangerous health risks to the men, women and children at the 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais - just 20 miles from the Kent coast. Aid workers also discourage all non-essential visits to the camp. Phil Kerton and Ben Bano from the charity Seeking Sanctuary write: "..there is now a risk of cholera and other diseases. In parts of the jungle there are one or two toilets for 500 people and these are often full to overflowing. The refusal of the French authorities to provide any litter collections means

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France: Police  use teargas and bulldozers to evict refugees
France: Police use teargas and bulldozers to evict refugees

The 'Jungle' in Calais has received another 350 occupants this week, after French gendarmes used tear gas and a bulldozer to evict groups of mainly Syrian refugees who were camping in a hanger in an old industrial estate. Elsewhere on Monday, riot police smashed the shelters of refugees living under a bridge and evicted them from a church where some had been living for up to a year. Humanitarian groups working in the area say at least one man was hospitalised.

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