After the sorting through age profiling of minors and according to the number of places in the buses for minors in Calais and sending them without any legal basis to centres which are outside the legal framework of the protection of childhood in France, the news which is coming from the CAO MIE (Reception and Orientation Centres for Isolated Foreign Minors) is showing us that people have a total lack of information as to the procedures that will determine their futures and they have no access to independent advice and anyone able to help them access their rights.
Nothing for concerning the minors invites trust. Some of them were able to initiate the procedure allowing them to legally enter the UK before the destruction of the shantytown, and then sheltered in the container camp or the Jules Ferry centre, from where they should have received the reply of the British authorities and eventually have left for Great Britain. The Home Office conducted interviews here, but eventually everyone was sent to CAO MIE (except some of the minors who were sent to the adult CAOs because there was no place in the CAO MIE for the minors, which refers to the broader question of all the minors who have been sent to adult CAOs). The people with UK home office “UK official” fluorescent vests who accompanied the youngsters on the buses as tangible proof of the follow-up of people by the British administration, disappeared on arrival at the CAO MIE. Then the time passed before people from the Home Office began to come back for further interviews.
But if agents of the Home Office have reappeared, minors are not being any better informed about the procedures that concern them and the ins and outs of the interviews that they undergo. What they know after the fact, however, is that in some of the CAOs some of the minors are now being considered as major.
What comes from a Home Office circular, which includes a procedure for determining the minority through eliminating people facially who do not seem to be minors, totally illegal under British law – but it is happening on French soil – totally illegal under French law – but it is practiced by British agents – and practiced in structures outside of any legal framework and in which the minors are incapable to assert practically their rights.
They are also ignorant of the criteria that mean that a good many of them will ultimately not be accepted in the UK.
You can download the Home Office flyer here.
Faced with the violence of such absurdity, three 16-year-old Afghans who lived in the CAOMIE in Talence, near Bordeaux, went on a hunger strike, the final means they found to try to reclaim their future.
“We are not there to be here”