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Children from Calais, France, camp sue Britain over denial of asylum

By Stephen Feller
Children from Calais, France, camp sue Britain over denial of asylum
Child migrants disbursed around France after officials there dismantled the Calais Jungle migrant camp in October have sued the British government for their lack of action to grant them asylum, asking for an explanation why they were denied or never received a response to their requests. File photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

LONDON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Three dozen children who lived in migrant camp in Calais, France, and sought asylum in Britain have sued the British Home Office over denials or a lack of response, a lawyer representing the children said.

Children sent throughout France after the so-called Calais Jungle camp was dismantled by French authorities in October sued the British government on allegations Home Secretary Amber Rudd violated laws requiring the government to accept unaccompanied children.

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While the legal challenge is based on one specific child -- a 14-year-old whose father was targeted by the Taliban after helping NATO troops in Afghanistan -- 36 other children signed on to the suit. Twenty-seven children who were denied entry to Britain are asking for explanations for their denial and eight others are still waiting for responses.

The children are suing Rudd for what they say is a violation of the Dubs amendment, a law designed to help unaccompanied minor who are considered to be at risk to immigrate to Britain.

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A lawyer working on the case, Toufique Hossain, said the children involved are examples of hundreds dispersed throughout France, and are receiving little to no assistance after waiting in the Calais Jungle camp to enter Britain.

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"These children have been waiting months for the government to formulate a policy and now the policy has failed to allow the relocation of many of the most vulnerable children to the U.K., in respect of whom the minister had promised to be 'flexible,'" Hossain said. "In fact, the way in which the criteria were drawn meant that most of the children from the Jungle were refused."

The 14-year-old boy's legal team wrote to the British Home Office in November and December, alerting officials there of the boy's history. The boy's father went missing, the child was also shot in the neck by the Taliban while searching for his father, he fled Afghanistan and traveled to France, was buried alive by the Iranian military in car and nearly starved to death, was subjected to physical and sexual abuse by human traffickers, and attempted suicide multiple times.

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Although the British government brought about 900 child refugees to the country in 2016, the number brought there under the Dubs amendment is unknown.

Regarding the legal challenge, and the boy, a spokesperson for the Home Office said, "It would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings."

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