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France

French court rejects bid to halt demolition of Calais 'Jungle' camp

© AFP archive

Video by Catherine NORRIS-TRENT

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-10-19

A group of French charities failed Tuesday in a last-ditch legal bid to block the razing of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in the northern town of Calais.

A court in the nearby city of Lille rejected their appeal which claimed that dismantling the camp was "an attack on the fundamental rights" of the migrants there, mostly Iraqis, Afghans and Sudanese.

The court ruled that the evacuation was intended to stop the "inhumane and degrading" treatment of people in the squalid camp by moving them to reception centres around the country.

No date has yet been announced for the demolition of the camp, currently occupied by around 5,700 migrants, according to the government.

French President François Hollande has pledged to close it down by the end of the year, removing an embarrassment for the government that has also disrupted port operations and train travel around Calais.

Migrants and refugees routinely try to break into trucks heading to Britain, which they see as a more attractive destination than France for family or economic reasons.

The interior and housing ministers welcomed the court decision which they said reinforced their determination to dismantle the camp before winter sets in.

Several sources have told AFP the operation could start next week.

The makeshift "Jungle" settlement has become a focal point in France of Europe's migrant crisis and a constant source of tension with Britain.

France is demanding that Britain take in more of the hundreds of unaccompanied minors seeking to reach relatives across the Channel before the camp is shut down.

A dozen teenagers were transferred to Britain on Monday, with dozens more set to follow in the coming days.

(AFP)

Date created : 2016-10-18

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