ICC Note: Attempting to flee from persecution at home, Africans from countries such as Eritrea often seek to migrate to Europe for a new life. After fleeing persecution from their repressive countries, African migrants, such as Eritrean Christians, often continue to endure hardships while living in the ‘Jungle of Calais’.
By Matthias Blamont
8/04/15, Calais, France (Reuters) – For most of the 3,000 inhabitants of the “Jungle”, a shanty town on the sand dunes of France’s north coast, the climax of each day is the nightly bid to sneak into the undersea tunnel they hope will lead to new life in Britain.
A few make it. But the vast majority face another day living with the squalor, disease and ever-present threat of violence in a place that, with Italy’s Lampedusa or Greece’s Lesbos, is the latest symbol of Europe’s failure to manage migration.
Like any community, the “Jungle” has its notables, like the young Nigerian polyglot who built an on-site school from little more than tree branches; distinct neighborhoods, tied to religion or origin; and gossip, such as the tale of the migrants who make so much money wheeling and dealing in Jungle that they have their own apartments in Calais town center.
The deaths in the Mediterranean this year of hundreds of migrants trying to get to Europe on overcrowded boats have sent immigration to the top of the European Union’s agenda. But the bloc’s 28 states have repeatedly failed to agree what to do with the migrants.
This is a typical day in the life of the largely African, Middle Eastern and Central Asian occupants of the camp, as witnessed by a Reuters multimedia team there last week.