Good Chance presents LAST CHANCE: a staged plea for the unaccompanied children of Calais
Carey Mulligan, Juliet Stevenson, Samuel West and others join refugees to read the Dublin III Regulation
Good Chance will stage a reading of the Dublin III Regulation with a group of refugees, actors and activists at the Young Vic this Thursday, 20 October. Tickets are free and the event is open to the public.
A census conducted by Help Refugees on 15 October recorded 865 children living in the unofficial refugee camp in Calais. 78% of them were alone. Many of these children have the legal right to be reunited with family members in the UK under the Immigration Act 2016.
Children and young people in the camp are at high risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and slavery. Senior officials from multiple charities working in the camp have reported incidents of serious depression, self-harm and threats of suicide from minors in despair over the camp’s imminent destruction.
The eviction of the Calais camp was planned for today, Monday 17 October, but has since been delayed by at least a week because of the lack of solution available for the hundreds of unaccompanied minors living in the camp. However, on average each case has taken over eight weeks to process, meaning that the majority of these minors will not be admitted to the UK ahead of the camp’s demolition. At the latest count only 62 unaccompanied minors had been successfully settled with their families in the UK. Reports from the camp suggest that the destruction of cafés and restaurants will begin today, and buses have already arrived in preparation for dispersal of the population of the camp.
The Dublin III Regulation provides the legal basis for establishing the criteria and mechanism for determining the country responsible for reviewing asylum applications lodged in any member state by a stateless person. The regulation applies to 32 countries which include the EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Carey Mulligan, War Child Global Ambassador, Juliet Stevenson, Safe Passage Advisory Council Member, Samuel West and others will read the treaty in full alongside Good Chance founders Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy as well as John Pfumojena, Lula Mebrahtu and other refugees who have settled in the UK. The reading is directed by Justin Martin.
Alongside the reading on the night, artist Sue Partridge will continue The Paper People Project. In March Sue hung 291 life size cut-outs representing the unaccompanied children of Calais throughout the Jungle camp. She is now coordinating the creation of 10,000 cut-outs made by individuals in the US, Italy, France, Afghanistan, Iran, Ireland and the UK, each representing a resident of the camp. Audience members are invited to join these international participants to be traced for a cut out of themselves. A replica of the Jungle camp will also be built live in the space, and other art projects will be created throughout the evening.
Juliet Stevenson says, “The Safe Passage UK programme has brought 62 children from Calais safely and legally to the United Kingdom under this legislation, but time is running out for the rest of the unaccompanied minors in the camp. The prime minister and home secretary must act urgently to reunite these families and protect these vulnerable young people.”
Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson add, “When Good Chance built its first theatre of hope in the Jungle last September, we were overwhelmed by the number of unaccompanied children living there, all needing a space of welcome and comfort to express themselves and feel safe.
That many of those same children are still living there now over a year later, in ever more desperate conditions, is an outrage. With a hard eviction looming, they are running out of time.
We have a moral responsibility to look after them, and a legal responsibility too. LAST CHANCE reading is a call to the government to ensure all the children of Calais are safely housed before the eviction begins, to speed up the Dublin III process, and for the Dubs Amendment transfers to begin as soon as possible.”