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Prayer is the 'only answer' on Calais migrant agreement

Tue 30 Aug 2016
By Hannah Tooley

A Christian charity has told Premier that prayer is the only answer left as Britain prepares to reject any attempts to make changes to a long-standing agreement on border checks in Calais. 

A Christian charity has told Premier that prayer is the only answer left as Britain prepares to reject any attempts to make changes to a long-standing agreement on border checks in Calais.

It comes after fresh warnings from France that the deal could be axed.

The Treaty of Le Touquet allows British border checks be carried out in Calais.

But there is now a proposal which would allow migrants to put in UK asylum claims on French soil.

It has been dismissed by a Home Office source as a "complete nonstarter". It says those in need of protection should seek asylum in the first safe country they enter.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has been meeting with France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to discuss the agreement on Tuesday.

Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

 

Phil Kerton is Co-Director Seeking Sanctuary, a charity that works with refugees and migrants in Calais and the UK.

He told Premier's News Hour France and the UK are not treating these families humanely.

He said: "You would think that the two sides will be falling over themselves to be the first to help, instead they're trying to find the best ways of putting obstacles in the way.

"There doesn't seem to be any great will behind the officials that are involved to actually get on and make progress."

What is the treaty?
- A bilateral accord signed in 2003, allowing British immigration officials to check passports in Calais, while their French counterparts do the same in Dover - an arrangement often referred to as "juxtaposed controls"
Where are the checkpoints?
- Border Force operates controls at a number of locations including at Calais and Dunkirk

Mr Kerton went on to say that Tuesday's meeting is unlikely to change things: "I don't really think that the outcome of today's meeting will change very much.

"Calls for changes immediately have come from politicians who are not actually in power in central government.

"What we would really like to see is migrants who are in Calais treated like human beings by both governments."

He concluded by praising the attitude Pope Francis shows towards migrants and refugees and said: "Prayer seems to be the only answer that we have."

Reports are also suggesting that Britain is threatening to review security co-operation with France if it tries to scrap the border arrangements in Calais.

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speak to Phil Kerton here:

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