About  |  contact  |  Search  |  RSS
Last Update: 10 Hour and 11 Minute ago
News code: 27740
Published Date: Sunday 23 June 2019 - 13:55:06
Print 

Record refugee evictions at camps in France

Record refugee evictions at camps in France
World  - British and French authorities have ramped up attempts to prevent refugees reaching the UK with camp evictions in north France running at several a day, new analysis reveals.

More than 800 clearances of migrant camps near the ports of Calais and Dunkirk have been recorded since last August, a zero tolerance strategy that campaigners say is designed to stop migrants attempting to cross the Channel by boat.

French police carried out 12 evictions in Calais last July when reports of Channel crossings began to emerge, compared to 79 in May, the latest month for which figures are available.

Charities argue that the increasing tempo of evictions, a strategy backed by UK border authorities, is forcing the 1,300 refugees currently in northern France to risk the dangerous Channel crossing. Last month the number of crossings by migrants from France hit record levels.

The Calais-based organisation Human Rights Observers and French group L'Auberge des Migrants have produced a report that shows attempts to drive out refugees from northern France have increased to record levels, with 803 forced evictions recorded between 1 August 2018 and 1 June 2019.

"It's an astronomical figure which illustrates the authorities' relentless harassment of displaced people in Calais. The cadence of these operations is uncompromising, occurring on the weekends as well as on bank holidays," said Jenni Whitaker of Human Rights Observers.

The controversial "migrant management strategy" is backed by the UK-France Coordination and Information Centre in Calais, which is staffed by Home Office border officials, National Crime Agency officers and British immigration enforcement staff.

The centre, funded by the UK, shares "real-time intelligence between UK and French agencies" and is dedicated to stopping refugees trying to cross the border.

The repeated destruction of makeshift camps around the Calais port area and the town of Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, has forced many of the refugees to sleep without shelter and also lose their possessions.

Of 500 migrants currently living near Calais, 139 are unaccompanied minors, with another 150 children among 800 living in rudimentary camps close to Dunkirk.

The scheme to transfer vulnerable child refugees from France to Britain has reportedly been ended, leaving hundreds of lone children facing exploitation. A 10-year-old unaccompanied boy was among those recently attempting to reach the UK, where he has relatives.

"The relentless and repetitive nature of the evictions appear to deliberately exhaust the communities, and render them even more materially precarious," said the report.

Of particular concern, says Whitaker, is how police establish a "security perimeter" during evictions to prevent refugees retrieving their belongings. On one occasion last March, gendarmes are alleged to have initially prevented a mother retrieving her child from a tent.

The Human Rights Observers, set up in October 2017 to investigate allegations of mistreatment by the French authorities against refugees, also report that tents have been routinely broken and confiscated and food sprayed with teargas, and that even jerrycans of drinking water have been slashed.

"These evictions only serve to add to the accumulated trauma of refugees and migrants, and aim only to create further hostility rather than offer a dignified solution. This has led to a deterioration of both the physical and mental health of those affected," said the report.

The vast majority of evacuations occur at Calais, with clearances in Grande-Synthe more sporadic, and currently take place at a rate of two per week.

However, conditions at Grande-Synthe are said to be dire with 87% of migrants telling a recent survey they do not have access to a toilet and more than half saying they do not have enough to eat.

Charities celebrated a legal victory last week against the French authorities over alleged human rights violations at Grande-Synthe, a verdict that means the state must provide water, showers and toilets for the hundreds living there.

A Pakistani man told the report's authors: "Today police came. They take my tent. In two days, I sleep maximum two hours. It's too much difficult. The mind is not working, the brain stops working. All the refugees are so afraid now."

In October 2016 a huge semi-permanent camp in Calais, home to around 8,000 refugees, was demolished in a move by the French government to remove migrants from its northern coast.

 

News Code: 27740
Published Date: Sunday 23 June 2019 - 13:55:06
No Comment,Be the first one who comments.
Comments

Name

email  

website

Comment  

Security code [*]: Please enter correct answer in security box.:

 = 5+1

Opinion
Why has it been such a deadly year for French women?
Why has it been such a deadly year for French women?
Megan Clement, a freelance journalist based in Paris.
I fear for Gaza's children
I fear for Gaza's children
Majed Abusalama, journalist and human rights defender from Palestine
America is likely complicit in war crimes in Yemen. It's time to hold the US to account
America is likely complicit in war crimes in Yemen. It's time to hold the US to account
Mohamad Bazzi, journalism professor at New York University
Mass shootings: The most American way to kill and die
Mass shootings: The most American way to kill and die
David A Love, Philadelphia-based freelance journalist and commentator
The treatment of migrants likely ‘meets the definition of a mass atrocity’
The treatment of migrants likely ‘meets the definition of a mass atrocity’
Kate Cronin-Furman,assistant professor of HR at University College London