CALAIS: DE SANGATTE A LA JUNGLA/ Calais: from Sangatte to the jungle


1553-14389697291884645530En su camino hacia Reino Unido, los emigrantes y refugiados tienen en Calais su última parada. Aunque esto parezca relativamente nuevo, ya que hace unos meses vimos oleadas de refugiados intentando cruzar el Canal de La Mancha, no lo es. Calais ha sido transitado por migrantes y refugiados desde 1999, fecha en la que el campo Sangatte fue abierto debido principalmente a las víctimas de la guerra de los Balcanes. El campo fue cerrado tres años después, pero desde entonces ha habido campamentos improvisados hasta la construcciónón de “la Jungla”, como es conocido el de Calais. Actualmente, unas 3.700 personas viven ahí y unas 1.000 han de ser realojadas.

“La Jungla” es un asentamiento creado para acoger a ese gran número de personas que intentan cruzar la frontera, ya sea por mar, en un camión o mediante el tren Eurostar. Proceden de países como Eritrea, Pakistán, Siria, Irán y Sudan principalmente. Entre Francia y Reino Unido se acordó que el país franco sería el que los iba a mantener en su territorio para impedir, de esta forma, su tránsito hacia Reino Unido; a cambio, Cameron, premier briánico, aportaría 20 millones de euros más a los 60 que ya había puesto.

No obstante, esta semana, el Gobierno francés ha empezado a derribar el área sur del campamento de Calais, provocando que alrededor de 1.000 personas hayan sido afectadas. Los afectados tienen dos soluciones: vivir en el nuevo asentamiento formado por contenedores con calefacción situados cerca del campo de Calais -que no presenta las condiciones para alojar a todos los sujetos desalojados- o irse a uno de los centros de acogida repartidos por toda Francia, lo que les daría mejores condiciones de vida y también serviría al Gobierno para distribuirles de forma más equitativa por el país evitando los asaltos a la frontera.

Quince años después del campo de Sangatte, Calais no solo representa un problema que Europa no sabe tratar de forma conjunta, sino que “La Jungla” se ha convertido en un arma política que Francia podría utilizar en caso de que el Brexit siguiese adelante y un posible y nuevo punto de conflicto dentro de Europa.

En lugar de guardarse cartas que jugar contra otros Estados, las naciones de la Unión deberían ver que, a medida que el dinero (la forma típica de solventar problemas) disminuye, la cantidad y la dificultad de los problemas están aumentando, haciendo del 2015 un año para recordar.


A sign that reads, "David Cameron Street
A sign that reads, “David Cameron Street” refering to the British prime minister, is seen at the migrants camp known as the ‘Jungle’ on January 11, 2016, in the northern French port city of Calais. Heated containers are being put into place to house the 4,500 migrants who are living in notoriously squalid conditions in the sprawling makeshift camp the ‘jungle’ in the hope that they will one day be able to cross the Channel to Britain.

On its way to UK, migrants and refugees are using Calais as last stop. Although this seems relatively new as last summer we all saw waves of refugees trying to cross Mancha channel, it is not. Calais has been used by migrants since 1999 when a camp called Sangatte was opened due to the  Balkan wars. That camp was closed three years afterwards but there has been makeshift camps from that time untill “the jungle” began. Officially, around 3.700 thousand people are living at Jungle and, 1.000 have to be moved.

“Jungle” is a camp created in order to settle the huge amount of people waiting to try to cross the UK border no matter by sea, using a lorry or getting in Eurostar. Migrants are coming from countries such as Eritrea, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Sudan mainly. France and the UK agreed France would keep them at its territory, making them reject from getting the UK and Cameron would give 20 million euros more to help its first help which consisted of 60 millions.

According to migrants sight, even though France offers almost same economic conditions the UK does, a mix between bad treatment they receive in France and the existence of a huge foreign community in the UK, as it had colonies in many places, makes them to choose it.

French government has started to demolish the Jungle´s  South area, saying it will affect around 1.000 people. Although charities think number is much higher, the true is government offers two solutions: living next to the Jungle in  new heated containers, which have no communal spaces and movements freedom or to be settled at centres across the country, which gives them better conditions but which is also a way to spread them across the country. Although violence has been used to stop clearance at Jungle´s, eviction can´t be stopped, throwing away all work many people has done at that area, there is no space enough for hosting people facing eviction at those new containers.

Fifteen years afterwards Sangatte camp, Calais does not only represents a problem Europe do not know how to deal with it altogether. Jungle has turned into political weapon France could use in case Brexit would keep going releasing migrants and letting them to get Dover.  Instead of keeping bullets to protect itself, every country should look at what is outside Europe and realizing that at the same time money diminishes (European way to face stuff) problems are increasing and getting complicated making 2015 a year to remember at Europe´s history facing problems such as refugees, Greece Economy, Terrorism and so forth… and, sometimes, it´s huge hit what makes us learn.

Joan Cabrera Robles

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