‘We will get there’: Child who fled two wars trying night after night to make it to Britain from camp in northern France | World News

The camps dotted around northern France are desperate places.

They are brimming with people eager for the chance of a better life, which they believe the UK has to offer.

Families gather in makeshift tents, but the usual food vans run by charities were nowhere to be found at the Grande Synthe camp in Dunkirk as many here are fasting for Ramadan.

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One of those is 17-year-old Shafi Ullah, who fled from Afghanistan in August with his two cousins ​​and a group of friends.

Shafi is eager to reach the UK shores. He failed to get across on Wednesday night and says he’ll try again tonight – and will keep trying.

News of the prime minister’s plan to redirect people like Shafi to Rwanda had not reached the camps yet. When we broke the news to them, many were exasperated but, tellingly, were not put off.

When we told them what Boris Johnson was about to announce, their reaction was total confusion.

Shafi and his friends escaped Afghanistan and crossed the borders of Iran and Turkey before ending up in Ukraine, where they were given visas to stay there.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February they decided to leave.

In six months, they’d fled two wars, and were beaten and mugged along the way. They’ve traveled through Poland, Germany and got to France. Now they’re here in Dunkirk and desperately trying to get to the UK.

Camps dotted around Northern France are filled with people eager to seek a better life
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A burnt-out car passes for a landmark at the Grande Synthe camp in Dunkirk

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They didn’t understand how, after making it so many thousands of miles, first fleeing a war or persecution at home and then war in Ukraine, they would potentially be extradited or taken to Rwanda – they were very angry that that was a possibility.

That they would be taken to a country that they didn’t want to go to. They know nothing about. They weren’t even able to place it on a map.

They said it was brutally unfair. They said it felt unfair that Ukrainians were being treated differently to Afghans or Syrians, who are all, for different reasons, fleeing persecution, war and conflict to get to the UK.

They don’t want to stay in France either. They don’t speak French, but all of them spoke good English and were clearly well educated young men who wanted to get jobs and work in the UK.

We asked them if seeing people shipped from the UK to Rwanda would deter them.

Without a second thought, they said: “No, we don’t have any other choice. We’ve come this far. We can only go one way now and that’s the UK so we will keep trying and we will get there.”

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