Press Release – 29 Feb 2016

More than 80% of refugees and displaced people likely to remain in Calais

Last week, the Refugee Rights Data Project conducted a survey of more than 800 people residing in the informal camp in Calais. This amounts to almost 15% of the camp’s inhabitants, making it one of the largest independent data collection projects to be carried out in Calais to date.

Our preliminary results show that the majority of refugees and displaced people in Calais plan to remain in the city if the informal camp is destroyed.

“If the camp disappears one day, what will you do?” (462 responses)


will stay in Calais, move to the camp in Dunkirk, or have no alternative plans.


will move to a different country or city.

Our data is currently still being processed, and a final report collating all 800+ responses will be released soon.

We are deeply concerned about the destruction of the camp, which has begun this morning. Help Refugees (a charitable fund highly active in Calais) has reported that a number of residents have been threatened with arrest if they do not leave their homes. As a result, many have packed their belongings and left on foot.

According to a census conducted by Help Refugees and L’Auberge des Migrants, 3,455 people live in the southern stretch of the camp which is due to be evicted in coming weeks.

Our preliminary research shows that these vulnerable people are unlikely to leave the Calais area, and instead resettle on the streets – potentially amplifying an already chronic humanitarian situation.

“Our first-hand data suggests that the French authorities’ plan to evict more than 3,000 people from their temporary homes is unlikely to provide a viable solution to the current humanitarian crisis on our doorstep.”

Marta Welander – Founder and Coordinator, Refugee Rights Data Project

Who conducted the research?

Our data collection was conducted 20 academic researchers, working in partnership with Help Refugees and L’Auberge des Migrants.

We are also working in collaboration with Professor Rizkhallah Alsharabati of the Political Science Institute at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, Lebanon. Professor Alsharabati has led similar studies in Lebanon among Syrian refugees.

About 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 entirely run by volunteers, who have 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
Co-coordinator and Media Relations Manager
T: 07817 380 897