Bishop accepts camp demolition, but urges change of heart toward migrants
A French bishop defended the demolition of a migrant camp in northern France while urging greater help for displaced refugees and a “change of mentality” toward asylum-seekers.
The Bishop of Arras, Jean-Paul Jaeger, said the transfer of people from the camp in Calais, known as the Jungle because of squalor and overcrowding, was necessary because of “its unhealthiness and the precarious subsistence conditions” that exist there.
“These people have often been jeered at by the very networks which led them toward an imagined promised land. Their departure from our seaboard can and must be accompanied by increased respect, especially toward minors, single women and people in poor health,” said Bishop Jaeger, whose diocese encompasses Calais.
The bishop issued the statement as police bulldozers began levelling makeshift shelters that housed about 8,000 migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East who were hoping to cross the English Channel to Great Britain.
As demolition work began, French officials moved residents to temporary locations across the country.
Picture: Migrants walk on the remains of the makeshift migrant camp known as the Jungle near Calais, northern France, on Saturday 29th October. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus).Tags: Bishop Jaeger, Bishop Jean-Paul Jaeger, Bishop of Arras, Calais, France, French bishop, Jungle, migrant, refugee