Press Release – 24 May 2016

Data highlights critical need for Europe’s leaders to deliver against commitments at World Humanitarian Summit

The Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) welcomes the commitments made by leaders at the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul this week – in particular “Leaving No One Behind: a Commitment to Address Forced Displacement”.
We hope that this will encourage states to address the needs of refugees and displaced people not just outside, but inside Europe’s borders. Our first-hand data demonstrates the urgency with which this objective must be delivered.
In February 2016, RRDP conducted a survey of 870 people living in the informal refugee camp in Calais, France – the largest data collection of its kind to be conducted in the camp. We found that the humanitarian crisis on the ground is acute. Some of the findings of our report ‘The Long Wait’ are outlined below:

Widespread Health Problems

  • 76.7% of respondents had experienced health problems, including mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress and severe anxiety.
  • This situation was worsened by the squalid hygiene conditions in the camp.

Children’s Needs Are Unfulfilled

  • 73.8% of children reported there was not enough food.
  • 71.3% said they did not have enough water to shower and wash themselves.
  • 75.2% had no access to any form of education.
  • 89.6% of children had experienced police violence since arriving in Calais (compared to 73.7% of adults).
  • Overall, the data suggests that children in the camp lack access to the required resources and security needed for healthy development.

Women Are At Particular Risk

  • 41% of women reported having experienced violence from others within the camp.
  • 45% reported experiences of violence by non-police citizens during their time living in Calais.
  • 56% of women have experienced health problems in the camp.
  • Our research suggests that the situation for pregnant women is particularly grave, with at least one respondent having reported that she lost her unborn child due to the detrimental effects of tear gas exposure.

Absence Of Legal Information

  • 79.3% of all respondents reported not having access to advice about their rights or opportunities to change their situation.
  • 74.3% said they did not have any information about European asylum laws and procedures.

We hope to see states commit to fulfil their legal obligations to protect such vulnerable individuals. These include the UK government’s duty to uphold the Dublin Agreement to reunite refugee children with their families, and the Dubs Amendment to take in a number of minors already inside Europe’s borders.

“The broad global commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit must not overshadow the urgency of resolving the ongoing humanitarian crisis on European territory. We call on European leaders to ensure that the human rights of refugees and displaced people are upheld, and we hope that our data will encourage policymakers to forge real, sustainable solutions.”

Marta Welander – Founder, Refugee Rights Data Project

What is the Refugee Rights Data Project?

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.

How did we collect data in Calais?

Our Calais data collection was conducted from 20-26 February 2016 by 20 academic researchers, with support from our advisory group and staff from the Political Science Institute at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, Lebanon. We also worked in partnership with Help Refugees. For more details on our methodology, please see our full report.


For enquiries, please contact:

Natalie Stanton
Co-coordinator and Media Relations Manager – Refugee Rights Data Project
T: 07817 380 897