"Buddying' Up With Child Migrants in Calais Jungle Camp
Posted at 10:49 AM (PST) on Saturday, March 5, 2016
Benedict Cumberbatch, Jude Law to Sponsor Child Refugees
by Alex Ritman
The Hollywood Reporter: March 4, 2016
Dominic West, Gillian Anderson, Juliet Stevenson and Brian Eno are also among the celebrities who offer support to unaccompanied minors with U.K. family links to help them cross over from Calais, France.
A group of U.K.-based celebrities have come together to offer their support amid the growing refugee crisis in Europe.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Jude Law, Dominic West, Gillian Anderson, Juliet Stevenson, Stephen Daldry and Brian Eno are among those who will each sponsor an unaccompanied child in the infamous "Jungle" camp in the French port town of Calais, the central hub for those hoping to cross into the U.K.
One organization, Citizens UK, estimated that 150 children in the camp have legal rights to reunite with family members in the U.K., and the celebrities have signed up to a buddy system in which they will visit the kids in France or their British connections and contribute towards legal and humanitarian costs.
"We call on the British and French authorities to immediately make provisions for the safe passage of all the unaccompanied minors and refugee children identified by Citizens UK with verified family connections to Britain," the celebrities said in a statement. "These children have a full legal right to reunite with their loved ones. It is unacceptable that they are left in danger and distress for administrative convenience. The system established to reunite these families must either be set aside, or made to work as a matter of extreme urgency."
The statement added: "We are each buddying with one unaccompanied minor to ensure that they receive the humanitarian support they need and to personally insist that both governments honor their obligations to these children."
The "Jungle" camp, a shantytown home to an estimated 3,500 refugees, most from the Middle East, North Africa and other areas of recent conflict, has become a hotbed of unrest and controversy. Earlier this week, French police sparked widespread criticism when they began bulldozing many of the structures and ordering the inhabitants to leave or face arrest.