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#Calais, #France: 693 evictions from informal living spaces since 1 January 2020

Calais. France. August 13. 2020. Today took place in Calais the 693rd eviction from an informal living space since 1 January 2020. As of 13 August 2020, the fundamental rights of the exiled people surviving in Calais are still not respected (Human Rights Observers).

Originally published by Squat Net.

Calais: associations refer cases to the Human Rights Defender and UN rapporteurs on the situation of migrants

Thirteen associations working with migrants in Calais announced on Friday that they had contacted the Human Rights Defender, as well as seven United Nations special rapporteurs on human rights, to “alert them to the inhuman living conditions” of refugees.

In Calais, the evictions of camps are continuing and police repression of migrants has increased since the arrival of Gérald Darmanin at the Ministry of the Interior, according to human rights groups present in the area.

In an attempt to make their voices heard, thirteen of them – including the Auberge des Migrants, Médecins du Monde and Secours Catholique – seized on Friday 14 August the Human Rights Defender Claire Hédon, whose mandate has just begun, as well as seven United Nations special rapporteurs on human rights.

The objective is to alert them “to the inhuman living conditions” of the refugees and to encourage them “to denounce the recurrent abuses committed by the public authorities and to intervene with them in order to finally put an end to them”, the associations wrote in a press release.

If the conditions in which the exiled people live are “unworthy for a long time”, it must be noted that “since the end of the state of health emergency” (due to the Covid-19 epidemic) and “the appointment of Gérald Darmanin at the head of the Ministry of the Interior”, the situation of the exiles in Calais “has only deteriorated”, they said.

This is due to the brutal “evacuations” of several camps, which were then “fenced off”, and the “dramatic reduction of vital services such as food distribution, access to showers and water points”.

Violation of rights

Based on “65 testimonies” shared between 10 July and 12 August by exiled people, members of associations and inhabitants”, the associations denounce “violations of the right to water”, “to sanitation”, “to health” and “to food”.
They report the testimony of an exiled person present in Calais: “I am hungry and thirsty every day. I am cold every night. I feel very weak physically. One of my friends has become very ill because of the situation. For 3 days, he was dizzy, he was hot then cold and he was shaking all the time’ “.

In this referral, the associations also warn about “forced evacuations”, “the increasing evictions of land where exiled people survive” as well as about “physical violence, confiscation of personal belongings and the resulting arrests”. The last eviction took place on 30 July, targeting a camp of several hundred people near the industrial zone of the Dunes in Calais.

In 2017, Human Rights Defender Jacques Toubon had already expressed concern about “exceptionally serious and unprecedented” human rights violations in Calais, where the authorities are preventing any relocation of the camp.

Associations for the support of exiled people refer the situation in Calais to the Human Rights Defender and the United Nations.

This Friday, 14 August 2020, the associations that support the exiled people surviving in Calais seize today the Human Rights Defender as well as 7 United Nations Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights to alert them on the inhuman living conditions in which the exiled people are kept. They call on these institutions to denounce the recurrent abuses committed by the public authorities and to intervene with them in order to finally put an end to them.

If the conditions in which the exiled people live have long been disgraceful, it must be noted that since the end of the state of health emergency on 10 July and the appointment of Gérald Darmanin at the head of the Ministry of the Interior, the situation of the exiled people in Calais has only deteriorated. The nearly 1,200 homeless men, women and children in Calais have seen their living conditions deteriorate profoundly in recent weeks. This is due to the brutal “evacuations” of several large camps, which were then fenced off on 10 and 30 July, and the dramatic reduction of vital services such as food distribution, access to showers and water points.

The referrals sent today by a coalition of associations are based on 65 testimonies shared between 10 July and 12 August 2020 by exiles, members of associations and residents. They denounce violations of the right to water, sanitation, health and food. One of the exiled people present in Calais declared: “I am hungry and thirsty every day. I am cold every night. I feel very weak physically. One of my friends has become very sick because of the situation. For 3 days he was dizzy, hot and then cold and he was shaking all the time. »

In this referral, the associations also warn of forced evacuations, increasing evictions from land where exiled people survive, as well as physical violence, confiscation of personal belongings (tents, duvets, telephones, etc.) and the resulting arrests. On this subject, A. testifies: “If we find ourselves alone to fetch water or food, CRS agents gas our faces. It burns my eyes, makes me cry and the CRS laugh in front of me. »

Single women, women with children, families and unaccompanied minors, despite their specific needs, are subjected to the same degrading treatment. In July, several dozen women, children and 194 unaccompanied minors were thus met by associations in situations of great distress. One volunteer said: “I was able to speak with a woman on 12 July who was pregnant and told me that she was very afraid of “doing things badly with her baby”, she wanted to take a shower, she repeated several times “I just want to be clean”.

Numerous testimonies from members of associations also refer to the intimidation (repeated identity checks without reason, threatening remarks, etc.) they are subjected to by the police when they come to the aid of exiled people, thus depriving the latter of an already fragile support.

The institutions seized today have already made clear recommendations to ensure that the fundamental rights of all are respected at the Franco-British border. The Human Rights Defender has already denounced the mass evacuations organised by the State, which do not provide any lasting solution: “the evacuation operations are presented by the public authorities as sheltering operations aimed at offering exiled people living in unhealthy camps and subject to pressure from smugglers’ networks, dignified reception conditions. However, since such shelters are often unsustainable and provide a framework for monitoring the administrative situation, they actually contribute to the creation of new camps. »

The judges of the Administrative Court of Lille and the Council of State had also already, in 2017 and 2018, ordered the State to guarantee at least access to the vital needs of water and hygiene (showers and toilets) and to information on rights. In 2018, the President of the Republic himself had called for food distributions to be put in place.

Only a few years after these decisions, it is incomprehensible that the exiled people in Calais should once again find themselves in a situation of extreme destitution.

Signatory associations:

Auberge des migrants
Cabane juridique
Calais Food Collective
Collective Aid
Help Refugees
Human Rights Observers
Médecins du Monde
Project Play
Refugee Women’s center
Salam Nord Pas-de-Calais
Secours catholique Nord Pas-de-Calais
Terre d’errance
Utopia 56



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