On Saturday 6th January, SOLIDAR Foundation member Solidarité Laïque has inaugurated its ’Ecole Laïque du Chemin des Dunes’ providing education to minors and adults living in the encampment in Calais, also wrongly called “the jungle”. The action aims at coping with the emergency as well as calling on national authorities such as the Ministry of Education to take its responsibilities in ensuring universal access to education as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This positive example of social inclusion promotes solidarity within the camp and highlights how inter-cultural values can be promoted in spite of degrading living conditions.
Solidarité Laïque calls on the French authorities to uphold international legal binding obligations such as the 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of Child and national obligations such as the right to education. These fundamental rights, enshrined in French constitution, need to be implemented throughout the national territory regardless of different administrative and legal statuses. National and local authorities should cease logic of limitations of fundamental rights and administrative issues that hinder the provision of those basic services which are in line with the traditional human rights culture in France. Still the goal needs to remain ending the Calais crisis, which can be considered as a symbol of failure to cope with the unprecedented humanitarian situation.
Civil society has a responsibility to promote inclusion and social cohesion as well as universal access to fundamental rights. The role of civil society organisations is also to act as watchdogs and call on the institutions to take their responsibilities in ensuring education and protect minors. For this reason, SOLIDAR Foundation strongly supports the project ‘Ecole Laïque du Chemin des Dunes’ and Solidarité Laïque’s campaign, as it strives to promote a truly inclusive Europe and universal access to social and cultural rights which are the essence of human dignity. It is only one example within our network, but a very special one given the particular circumstances in Calais. And the best way to strive racist and populist rhetorics!
You can keep track of the activities related to the ‘Ecole Laïque du Chemin des Dunes’ through Solidarité Laïque’s facebook page.