11:00 a.m., November 14, 2021
While thousands of migrants are trapped by Belarus on the edge of Poland, the situation worsens along another European border, between the UK and France. On Thursday, 1,185 candidates for the Channel crossing managed to reach British territory, a record according to the authorities. But the vast majority of exiles (1,000 in Grande-Synthe, 1,500 in Dunkirk and as many in Calais) find themselves “stuck in a trap” and live “in inhuman conditions”, “harassed without a solution”, denounces the deputy Sébastien Nadot (LT).
Chairman of the parliamentary commission of inquiry on migration, this week he drew up an alarming report after six months of work. On Friday, three migrants disappeared at sea. “Emmanuel Macron is right to be concerned about Belarus, warns Sébastien Nadot, but in his country, fundamental rights are not respected.”
Field workers sound the alarm
Saturday afternoon, several dozen people were discovered in Calais in support of the exiles. The procession left from Saint-Pierre church, where activists Ludovic Holbein and Anaïs Vogel continued their hunger strike for the 34th day. They are still calling for an end to evictions during the winter break, an end to confiscation of the personal effects of refugees during the dismantling of camps and a return to dialogue with associations so that they can distribute essential goods. About fifteen organizations (Auberge des Migrants, Faim aux Frontières, Calais Food Collective, etc.) marched alongside trade unionists and elected officials such as MPs Karima Delli (EELV) or Adrien Quatennens (LFI).
Read also – Police operations, suspicion of brutality and racism: in Calais, exiles under pressure
The actors in the field are sounding the alarm. “The State is withdrawing from humanitarian aid and is pouring into all-security, but this repressive policy aimed at preventing people from taking boats is ineffective, deplores Pierre Roques, the coordinator of the Auberge des Migrants. not solve such a crisis by planting police like salads every 50 meters on the coast. “
The idea of avoiding the reconstitution of a “jungle” in Calais is illusory, affirms Sébastien Nadot: “It has never disappeared, it has changed in its form.” According to associations, state food distributions are brutally reduced; only 200 migrants out of 1,500 now benefited from this aid. “People are hungry”, warns Pierre Roques, who assures that he has “never seen that” in three years on the spot.
The inhuman treatment with dismantling every two days has not stopped
The announcements of Didier Leschi, the boss of the French Office for Immigration and Integration, sent at the end of October as mediator, did not appease anything. The strikers and associations consider the systematic offer of accommodation to the displaced and the end of surprise evacuations insufficient or “inapplicable”. The two reopened night reception “airlocks” – 300 camp beds in hangars, already available in very cold weather – are undersized. Accommodation in reception centers outside Calais is offered, but only asylum seekers stay there.
For the deputy Sébastien Nadot, Calais is only the visible part of a state “mistreatment”
“The inhuman treatment with dismantling every two days has not ceased”, denounces Pierre Roques. Migrants will now have to collect their belongings before the tents are destroyed. “It was already supposed to be the case in July, chokes the deputy Sébastien Nadot, and we still do not respect the minimum imposed by French law. There is no social and medical assessment, the update the shelter is not accompanied by accommodation solutions. Everything is done to ensure that these people are precarious at each evacuation. For the elected official, Calais is only the visible part of a state “mistreatment”.
Vilified by associations, France is also vilified by the United Kingdom, which accuses it on the contrary of laxity and threatens not to pay it the millions of euros owed in return for the management of its border. An “instrumentalisation for domestic political purposes” deemed “unacceptable” by France … Many voices called upon to renegotiate the agreements between the two countries. For Sébastien Nadot, who points to “an unhealthy game between the two States”, the only solution lies in the construction, at European level, of legal means of travel in connection with the countries of departure … in Poland as in Calais.