Judge Rules Against Pas-de-Calais Prefecture
Decision Saves Jungle Restaurants and Shops from Demolition
CALAIS- Friday, 12 August, a judge in Lille ruled against the demolition of the remaining restaurants and shops located in the Calais refugee camp known as the Jungle.
In his ruling the judge acknowledged that the restaurants and shops play a vital role in the Jungle and provide a place for refugees to charge their phones at night, which is indispensable, since phones are of vital importance for communicating with family back home. The judge also recognised that the restaurants and shops act as community spaces, where different nationalities and ethnic groups and meet and conflicts can be resolved.
“The government says the restaurants are not safe, but they give people a space where they can calmly talk to each other. We give people a place to sleep when they do not have a tent” says the owner of the popular Jungle restaurant, Welcome Restaurant. Welcome Restaurant has been a force of stability in the Jungle, hosting community meetings, bringing together a diverse cross-section of residents and helping to resolve conflicts between refugees.
One of the restaurants that would have been demolished is the Jungle Books Kids Restaurant, which provides free meals to minors in the Jungle and a safe space for kids to pass their days and nights. Yama Ahmadi (pseudonym), 16, says “I like to study here, and the food before was good. It’s a place where we can talk about our problems with each other. Outside [in the rest of the jungle] there are only big men. In here we are safe.”