The Lost Kids of Calais
- *Civis Media Award*
- *Documentary Award* | Festival du Film de l'Education
This pertinent exposé shows the plight of unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors in 'the Jungle’ of Calais, a notorious camp that confined thousands of refugees in disastrous conditions amidst the distressed border politics of the EU.
Prior to its dissolution, the 'Jungle' of Calais was a makeshift refugee camp set up to contain an influx of migrants that had been roaming the city’s streets, waiting for an opportunity to cross into Britain. It began to grab international headlines in 2015 at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis, following disturbing reports of life-threatening conditions and total disarray on the ground.
Rafi, Salman, Said and Ali, unaccompanied minors from Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, were among the 6,000-10,000 migrants confined in the Jungle at its peak. Their shared experiences in the camp range from surviving without water for several consecutive days to rape. Each had made several unsuccessful attempts to climb into containers or slip onto the axles of trucks heading to Britain, a destination marketed heavily by smugglers and where a few had tenuous connections.
Despite stays approaching a year or more in the camp, they and other minors like them hadn’t been interviewed by authorities of the French state, let alone informed of their rights under French and international law. Under French law, unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors are entitled to registration and protection by the state, and eligible for French citizenship at age eighteen. However in reality, the pro-bono lawyers accepting some of their cases are often thwarted by their lack of papers and inability to prove dates of birth.
With a sobering tapestry of voices, The Lost Kids of Calais dives into this symbol of the refugee crisis in Europe to consider the human toll of institutional dysfunction and the fragility of humanitarian policy.
Directed by: Thomas Dandois, Stéphane Marchetti
60 Minutes | English and French with English subtitles.
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