Calais: Eritrean Refugees Tell Of Torture And Fear

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By James Rippingale

Discredited Danish report on Eritrea human rights

leaves refugees stranded on European route.

Calais, France – Away from the forced conscriptions, enforced disappearances, torture and religious repression of their homeland, hundreds of Eritreans, mostly men, remain stuck in Calais’ ever-shrinking “Jungle” refugee camp. French authorities have bulldozed their settlements in the camp’s southern zone.

Those who have made it across the English Channel face continual roadblocks from the UK Home Office in their requests for asylum.

Eritreans make up the largest group of people applying for asylum in the UK, with 3,729 applications in 2015. But in March 2015, the UK government began dramatically slashing approvals for applicants from Eritrea, with success ratesplummeting to 48 percent in 2015 from 87 percent the previous year.

This shift in policy is based upon advice issued by the Home Office from a now heavily discredited report by the Danish Immigration Services (DIS).

Jens Weise Olesen and Jan Olsen, who travelled to Eritrea as the report’s principal researchers, have fiercely declaimed it as simplistic and distorted. After its publication in November 2014, they both resigned from DIS.

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