Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • French teenage girls held over Syria jihad plans

    Read more

  • Iceland issues aviation alert on volcano activity

    Read more

  • France will not be 'be pushed around' by Germany

    Read more

  • ‘European GPS’ satellites launched into wrong orbit

    Read more

  • Merkel in Kiev as aid convoy ‘returns to Russia’

    Read more

  • Suicide bomber targets Iraq intelligence HQ in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Video: Israel bombs kidnapping suspect’s home

    Read more

  • US brands journalist’s beheading a ‘terrorist attack’

    Read more

  • Ebola prompts Philippines to recall UN troops in Liberia

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • US sued over ‘deportation mill’ in New Mexico

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels in face-to-face talks

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Ferguson

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • US job market yet to recover from recession, says Fed Chair

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Europe

UK refuses group entry to France's Syrian refugees

© afp

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-10-04

British border police on Friday ruled out group entry for some 60 Syrian asylum seekers at the French port of Calais who are trying to enter the UK. British officials said they could only examine the refugee claims on a case-by-case basis.

A team of British border police on Friday ruled out a group entry for some 60 Syrian asylum seekers blocking a gangway at a ferry terminal in the French port of Calais.

The three-member team of the Border Force held talks with the refugees, who are desperately trying to get to Britain.

But the British officials said they could only examine on a case-by-case basis the requests of those who already had family in Britain, according to Denis Robin, the top government official for France's northern Pas-de-Calais region.

The negotiations included two representatives for the refugees, 60 of whom have blockaded the terminal since Wednesday.

Robin said the British officials indicated that the entry of the entire group "without any checks or examinations of the different cases" was out of the question.

"However, the representatives of the Border Force said that they are open to examining on a case-by-case basis if there are Syrian nationals with family on British territory."

His statements sent a wave of gloom among the refugees. Two men joined two others already perched on a port building and threatened to jump but all four later came down.

The talks also drew in officials from the Medecins du Monde and Secours Catholique charities as well as the top government official for the Pas-de-Calais region.

The mayor of Calais, a Channel port from where many ships and ferries leave for Britain, said the protest highlighted the need for a concerted European strategy.

"It's unacceptable that it is in France and at Calais that one has to control immigration."

The protest, which has seen 20 people go on hunger strike, prompted French authorities to offer to legalise the refugees' status.

Some 50 police from the CRS anti-riot squad moved in early Friday to try and clear the protestors from the footbridge but backed off when two of them climbed on top of a port building and threatened to jump off.

Pas-de-Calais prefect Robin then went to the site and offered the Syrians, currently illegal immigrants, the right to asylum.

"Today, the Syrians present here are caught in a stalemate. What we can do is to offer them a status on French territory... in other words to make a request for asylum," he told reporters.

He said every asylum demand had a "95 percent chance of success".

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has pledged to fast-track the applications of Syrians seeking asylum.

But the protesting refugees, most of whom arrived in Calais a month ago, have voiced disappointment at the way they were treated in France.

"We thought that France was the country where human rights are respected," said Tarik, a 19-year-old.

The refugees had affixed cardboard signs reading "Take us to the UK", and "We want to talk to David Cameron".

"But we live outside like dogs, hunted down by the police, we see we are not welcome, how can we seek asylum here?" Tarik said.

Ali, a 38-year-old, said although French President Francois Hollande had taken a strong stand against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons, the French were not welcoming at all.

"Why does the president say one thing and the police another?" Ali said, adding that he had spent $13,000 (9,500 euros) to come to a country where the "president said 'we must help Syrians'".

"Here even animals are better treated than us," he said.

The UN refugee agency has said 17 countries, including France, have agreed to receive quotas of refugees fleeing the bloody conflict in Syria.

France has had only 850 registered demands for asylum from Syrians since the start of this year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said late last month.

(AFP)

 

Date created : 2013-10-04

  • FRANCE - SYRIA

    Syrian refugees in France 'ready to die' to reach UK

    Read more

  • FRANCE - SYRIA

    Syrian asylum-seekers face a tough path in France

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    More than two million have fled Syrian conflict, UN says

    Read more

COMMENT(S)