UK

Lily Allen Apologises ‘On Behalf Of Britain’ After Visiting Unaccompanied Children In Calais

'The English in particular have put you in danger'

12/10/2016 9:27 PM AEDT | Updated 13/10/2016 12:17 AM AEDT
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UPDATE: Lily Allen Abused For Standing Up For Refugees And Defending Vulnerable Children

A tearful Lily Allen has apologised to a teenage Afghan boy “on behalf of my country” after visiting the Jungle in Calais to meet unaccompanied children living there.

The mother-of-two was filmed by the BBC meeting the 13-year-old, who told her his father had sold land to fund his departure from Afghanistan, because the family was becoming caught up between the Taliban and Islamic State.

The boy, understood to have the legal right to be in the UK, now lives in the Jungle. Claiming his paperwork will take four months to process, he hopes to enter the country via a lorry through the Channel Tunnel, stating: “The way I am trying works better.”

BBC Victoria Derbyshire
Lily Allen wipes at tears during her visit to the Calais 'Jungle' 

Wiping her eyes, Allen, whose trip to Calais was funded and organised by Help Refugees, said: “It just seems that at three different intervals in this young boy’s life, the English in particular have put you in danger.

“Bombed your country, put you in the hands of the Taliban and now we’re putting you at risk, risking your life to get into our country. I apologise on behalf of my country. I’m sorry for what we’ve put you through.”

It comes as British and French ministers edge towards a deal to safeguard or bring hundreds of unaccompanied children to the UK in the next fortnight.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A child rides a bicycle in the migrant camp at Calais

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told MPs the effort will prioritise safeguarding children under the age of 12, as France prepares to close the Calais camp.

Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire, when Allen was asked if she would take in an unaccompanied child from the so-called Jungle, the singer replied: “100%. 100% Who wouldn’t?”

Allen is not the first celebrity to have publicly despaired at Britain’s role in the refugee crisis in France.

In September Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan said the UK’s “inaction” had left her “ashamed to be British.”

Speaking to the Telegraph, the 31-year-old said: “There is literally no excuse for what is going on there. It’s shameful.

“And I’m very proud to be British, and think we do great things, and it is worth remembering we are one of the biggest donor countries.

“But because of our inaction when it comes to 600 unaccompanied minors in Calais, it makes me ashamed to be British.”

Around the world, there are currently about 21.3 million refugees, 3.2 million asylum seekers, and 40.8 million migrants, according to the UN Refugee Agency. The agency defines refugees as people forced to flee due to armed conflict or persecution, while migrants choose to move in search of a better life.

Up to 88,000 refugee children are estimated to be stuck in Europe without their parents.

Alone and afraid, many have faced violence, police brutality and hundreds have been imprisoned in detention centres and police cells. Many are also vulnerable to trafficking gangs and exploitation. 

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