14-year-old boy is youngest refugee to die trying to cross UK border from Calais Jungle

The death of a 14-year-old boy, killed on a French motorway while trying to reach his family in Britain, despite having a legal right to asylum in the UK, has sparked urgent calls for the Government to stop playing “disgusting politics” with the lives of refugee children.
The young Afghan – who has a brother and two uncles living in the UK – was killed in a hit and run accident on Friday after trying to jump on to a lorry.
He had already started the legal process to join his family in Britain but had been left languishing in the Calais Jungle migrant camp for more than three months due to delays in the system. He is thought to be the youngest victim to lose his life in an attempt to reach Britain from the camp, although because some children are often travelling alone, some deaths go unrecorded.
The dead boy had been “waiting so long he lost faith in the system and thought his only option was to risk his life in order to finally reach safety”, according to the charity Help Refugees, which confirmed the death.
“Like the children still trapped in the Jungle, he is likely to have experienced enormous hardship, police violence, hunger and poor mental health. He would have felt he had no rights and that he was not worth the protection of any state. He could have been with his brother, he could have been in school, he could have been safe.
“Instead he is lying on a cold bed, having been identified by volunteers at the Refugee Youth Service.”
The boy’s family are in Calais today but do not wish to share further details of his identity and have ask for their privacy to be respected.
1,179 are children while the number of unaccompanied minors has increased by 51 per cent in the last month to 1,022. The youngest children living alone there are two eight-year-old boys.
Annie Gavrilescu, a field manager for Help Refugees, based in Calais, said: “There has been a huge increase in the number of unaccompanied children in the past few weeks and we are also seeing more unaccompanied girls than previously.”
She said the spike in numbers could be due to the closure of other refugee camps in Italy and France, and more children making the journey from Libya to Italy due to improved weather conditions.
Ms Gavrilescu said: “All they want is to reach their families and somebody in an office wearing a suit is preventing them from doing that by refusing to sign a bit of paper.”
She added: “All this time the Home Office and the French authorities are blaming each other and using these children as pawns – it’s disgusting politics.”

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