Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative on International Migration, castigated the governments of the UK, France and several Central and East European states for their seeming failure to understand the desperate plight of refugees fleeing war zones. A visit to the camps in Calais had left him wondering if the squalor he saw there was a deliberate ploy to discourage others from trying to find refuge in the UK.
Mr Sutherland said: “The conditions in which the migrants were living were truly shocking. Doctors there told me of clear evidence of TB and scabies.
“This is a disgrace. It is also a clear example of the broader inadequacies in Europe’s practical expression of its much-vaunted values. These poor people, determined to reach Britain, and having already endured dreadful hardships to get to Calais, are stuck. The site is a living reproach to European society – a desperate place populated by desperate people.”
Mr Sutherland added: “The numbers in the camp are only about 3,000 and could be easily handled. Are they being kept in squalor to put off others? Is improving their condition seen as a potential ‘pull factor?’ This logic is almost as obscene as the suggestion that saving lives in the Mediterranean might tempt others to come. The reality is that the issues surrounding the mobility of mankind in an era of global communications of all kinds require far more than the pandering to the xenophobia and racism increasingly evident in parts of the developed world.”
On 9 October, the Mid Kent MP Helen Whately said conditions there were “bad and getting worse”.