Press Release – 20 October 2016

New data: 69% of children plan to stay in Calais or sleep in the street following evictions

More than half of refugees and displaced people living in the Calais camp plan to stay in Calais or sleep in the street if the camp is evicted, according to new data from the Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP).

This problem is particularly acute among children aged 17 or under, of whom 69.34% said they would stay in Calais or sleep in the street if the camp disappeared.

The striking figures are part of a new data-set collected by the Refugee Rights Data Project, based on a survey of 429 residents of the Calais camp (approximately 4.2% of its population). First-hand research was conducted by field researchers in September and October 2016.

Please click here to read RRDP’s full report, Still Here: Exploring Further Dynamics of the Calais Camp.


  • 59.21% of respondents said they would stay in Calais or sleep in the street if the camp is evicted. This problem is particularly acute among children, of whom 69.23% said they would stay in Calais or sleep in the street if the camp disappeared (pages 15-17).
  • 22.1% of total respondents, and 17.7% of children, would like to stay in a French accommodation centre. Many explained this is because they think they will be asked to stay in France but want to live elsewhere, while others were reluctant to move as they had heard bad things about the centres or didn’t want to stay with the French authorities (pages 19-20).
  • While 72.73% of respondents think that the UK is the best country for them in Europe (compared to 75.38% of children), a relatively high proportion would like to remain in France, while others hope to live in Italy, Germany, Sweden or other countries in Europe and North America. (pages 23-24).
  • 28.9% said they want to seek education opportunities in the UK and 28.44% would prioritise finding a job. Other priorities include being reunited with friends and family, taking English lessons and finding British friends, while just 1.4% of respondents said they would be unemployed and receive money from the government (pages 25-26).
  • 65.7% of respondents have heard about the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, indicating that camp residents are politically aware. Of these, 39.72% don’t know how it will affect them while 29.08% think it will impact them in a positive way (page 22).
  • On the current situation in the camp, 39.1% said they need more healthcare providers, while 34.5% highlighted that they need more food, and 33.10% more legal assistance (page 10).

These findings suggest that recent British and French policies, including the planned demolition of the camp which is due to begin in the next few days, fail to address the underlying dynamics at play in Calais. Going ahead with the planned evictions, without presenting adults and children with viable alternatives and guidance, is likely to encourage the camp’s residents to disperse to smaller camps around the local area with even less access to basic services. Such a move would be detrimental both to refugees and displaced people, and to the surrounding local community.


“No human should live in the squalid conditions experienced in the Calais camp. But any policy which seeks a quick fix to these problems, without addressing the complex underlying dynamics that lie beneath, is bound to fail. We hope that our data will shine a light on these deep-rooted issues, and help policy makers to find a sustainable, long-term solution to the humanitarian crisis on their borders. In the meantime, we urge them to step up to their legal and moral obligations to protect the camp’s most vulnerable residents without further delay.”


The Refugee Rights Data Project is a non-profit project established in late 2015. We aim to fill the data gaps relating to refugees and displaced people in Europe by conducting our own independent field research. Our project is run by professionals with expertise spanning a broad range of sectors. We are independent of any political ideology or religion, and united by our commitment to defend the rights of some of the world’s most vulnerable groups of people.


For enquiries, please contact:

Natalie Stanton
Deputy Director and Communications Coordinator
T: 07817 380 897