A placard reading " Why don't you listen to us" is seen behind a Iranian migrant, his lips sewn shut and making an hunger strike, during the dismantlement of the shanty town called the "Jungle" in Calais, France [Image: Reuters].

A placard reading ” Why don’t you listen to us” is seen behind a Iranian migrant, his lips sewn shut and making an hunger strike, during the dismantlement of the shanty town called the “Jungle” in Calais, France [Image: Reuters].


Is this how asylum seekers are expected to react to their treatment by a civilised country?

Yes, the issue of refugees has become increasingly vexed – especially considering the illegal behaviour carried out by some of them in destination countries.

But it seems to This Writer that something must be seriously wrong in the behaviour of the host countries if they are resorting to self-mutilation to get a message across.

It is entirely possible that they are trying to manipulate news-gatherers into creating sympathy for them – but it seems to this reporter that the act of physically sewing one’s lips together indicates desperation, not cynical news-management.

What is to be done about this? Anything?

Or are we all content to cower in our homes and be grateful that we aren’t on the receiving end of such treatment?

Eight men who have been on hunger strike in the Calais refugee camp since 29 February have sewn their mouths shut in protest at the continued clearance of the Jungle.

Four British volunteers, including one named Tom Radcliffe, joined the hunger strike.

The group are demanding that the clearance of the camp be put on hold until an appeal is heard by the European Court of Human Rights.

The protest comes amid heightened concern for the welfare of refugees, with a survey finding that 73 per cent say they have been victim to police violence.

A medic based in Calais told The Independent they had stitched up the head of a seven-year-old boy who had been beaten by police.

The medical volunteer who spoke to The Independent about the seven-year-old child asked to remain anonymous.

“We had to give him stitches in his head at four in the morning,” they said.

The demolition of the southern part of the camp began on 29 February, leading to clashes between French riot police and the camp’s inhabitants.

Source: Calais Jungle refugees sew mouths shut in protest at camp clearance | Europe | News | The Independent

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