UN: Calais migrant crisis “exaggerated beyond belief”

3rd August 2015 / EU

The Calais migrant crisis is on the front pages of every newspaper in the land and you would be forgiven for thinking that Britain is under siege from illegals entering through one tunnel on the south coast.

The UN’s special representative on migration has accused the British government of exaggerating the migrant crisis in the French town of Calais.

Peter Sutherland said the scale of the crisis is “exaggerated beyond belief” and being “calculated to inflame tensions.”

He slammed the Tory government for failing to tackle the poor conditions of migrants in the Calais camp.

“The first thing we have to do collectively is to deal with their conditions…Instead of talking about sending Gurkhas or building fences, we should be thinking of the humanitarian crisis,” Sutherland added.

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The situation escalated in the early hours of Thursday last week after a group of about a dozen migrants tried to break in to the terminal of the railway tunnel linking France to the UK.

Reports coming out of France suggest that some 3,000 migrants have gathered in the French port town of Calais, many of them hoping to find a better life in the UK are quite ridiculous.

Meanwhile, the British prime minister has warned that the migrant crisis in Calais could last throughout the summer.

This is going to be a difficult issue right across the summer…I will have a team of senior ministers who will be working to deal with it, and we rule nothing out in taking action to deal with this very serious problem,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by the media.

David Cameron even called for an emergency Cobra meeting of Ministers in London on Friday, he said the situation in Calais is “unacceptable.’ Cobra is the Cabinet Office Briefing Room A and refers to the location for a type of crisis response committee.

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Other figures such as 2,000 migrants storming the tunnel are provided by the French police. They refer to the number of detected attempts to enter the Eurotunnel freight site and not the number of people. Over the last month some 200 to 300 migrants have sought enter the terminal each night. This week the number has risen to about 500. According to reports, some 150 have succeeded in reaching Britain. One man has been killed – the ninth since June.

There are news reports of some 40,000 migrants camped around Calais when the reality is that the number, although greatly increased recently is more like 4,000 and that a swarm of migrants is heading our way.

Calls to despatch the British army to Calais to deal with the crisis are not just preposterous but come from the imagination of pure fantasy. The French authorities would not allow foreign troops onto it’s land for such a minor issue as moving on 4,000 people.

The disruption to cross-Channel traffic is having a significant impact but at nowhere near the level of £250m per day as claimed – the estimated daily value of trade passing through Dover. While consignments have been delayed they have not been lost. The costs are nonetheless significant. Hauliers are losing an estimated £750,000 a day through delays and the £2m per week cost of throwing away spoilt cargo. It should be noted that much of the disruption this month has been caused by striking French ferry workers, not migrants.

Claims that migrants are armed and dangerous is not true otherwise the French would have made arrests – to date, non have been made for being armed.

Meanwhile, a London-based human rights activist criticized the British government’s approach to the situation in Calais, saying there is no migrant catastrophe over there.

“There isn’t any kind of crisis or catastrophe coming. Migrants trying to come through have actually died and yet we have had not a word of condolence, pity, or shame or anything from the British government,” Arzu Merali told Press TV’s UK Desk on Friday.

“Many observers believe the government is deliberately fuelling the press in order to ratchet up tensions both in Europe and internationally,” she noted.

Millions of people have been displaced from wars in Syria and Libya, not many actually make the largely on-foot crossing to the shores of northern Europe from the middle east. These are wars started by countries like France and Britain, particularly in the case of Libya.


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