+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

PHOTOS: French authorities threaten to destroy migrant camps

Migrants in Calais, France occupy a food distribution center to protest Paris’s threat to evict them from their camps. Groups of migrants set up camps on the coast in hopes of sneaking across the channel to the UK.

By Anne Paq/Activestills.org

A general view of one of the migrants camps, called "African camp" which migrants built next to the canal. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A general view of one of the migrants camps, called the “African camp” which migrants built next to the canal. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Despite rainy weather, hundreds of migrants occupied a food distribution center in the French city of Calais Monday night in order to protest against the imminent eviction of their camps. The evictions of three main camps that shelter over 600 migrants in the city, are expected to take place in the next days according to French authorities. A social center and two other squats are also set to face eviction soon, according to activist group “Calais Migrant Solidarity.” Humanitarian organizations are outraged by the decisions, which will put the migrants in a even more precarious and insecure situation, and does not offer them alternative housing.

The Calais port and the surrounding areas attract scores of migrants hoping to smuggle themselves to the United Kingdom, which some believe has a more flexible refugee policy.

Read +972’s full coverage of refugees and migrants in Israel

Many more makeshift migrant communities are scattered across France’s northern coastline. The migrants and asylum-seekers come from Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Palestine and beyond. There are dozens of minors among them. The migrants risk their lives in attempts to clandestinely sneak into or under the trucks that cross the channel to the UK. A great number of them have been injured in the process and some have died.

French authorities decided to evict the camps after a scabies outbreak and said they will provide the migrants with medical treatment when they evict them from their camps.

Many migrants in Calais come from countries torn by conflicts and flee persecution.  (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Many migrants in Calais come from countries torn by conflict and are fleeing persecution. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

A migrant attempts to protect himself from the rain under a plastic sheet. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A migrant attempts to protect himself from the rain under a plastic sheet. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

The harbour is highly protected and watched by the police and private security guards in order to prevent migrants to enter the area in their attempts to cross the Channel to United Kingdom. 
(Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The harbor is very protected and closely watched by the police and private security guards in order to prevent migrants entering the area from which they attempt to cross the channel to United Kingdom. 
(Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants have denounced the move as an excuse to get rid of the camps. Along with other organizations, Amnesty International France co-signed a letter to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls expressing its stupefaction at a plan that links medical treatment with evictions. Amnesty International France also demanded that the government “set up an adapted emergency plan to meet the health needs of the migrants in Calais and that France fulfills its duty of protection.”

“They’re taking advantage of treating people for scabies to destroy the camp. It’s a waste of [resources], and where are the migrants going to go?” Médecins du Monde activist Martine Devries told French daily La Voix du Nord.

Clothes from migrants hanged under a bridge in an attempt to dry them despite the rainy and cold weather. 
(Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants’ clothes hang under a bridge in an attempt to dry them despite the rainy and cold weather. 
(Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

Migrants receive a meal delivered by Salam association at the food distribution center one day before they occupy it. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants receive a meal delivered by the Salam association at the food distribution center, one day before they occupied it. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

Migrants arrive around 2.30 am at the food distribution center to occupy it. The move was decided as a way to protest against the planned eviction of their camps.  (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants arrive at the food distribution center to occupy it at around 2:30 a.m.. The decision to occupation the center was made in order to protest the planned eviction of their camps. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

It is expected that the French police will also evict the migrants who currently occupy the food distribition center. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

It is expected that the French police will also evict the migrants who currently occupy the food distribition center. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

Migrants attempt to protect themselves from the rain and the cold in the first night they occupy the food distribution center. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants seek shelter from the rain and cold in the first night of their occupation of the food distribution center. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

Migrants in the camps live under very difficult conditions and the health situation is catastrophic according to the humanitarian associations. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants in the camps live under very difficult conditions and the health situation is catastrophic, according to the humanitarian associations. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

No housing alternatives have been proposed by the French authorities following the decision to demolish the camps. It is expected that the migrants will find themselves in the streets, while some of them will rebuild camps in more remote areas or join other groups elsewhere on the coast. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

No housing alternatives have been proposed by the French authorities following the decision to demolish the camps. It is expected that the migrants will find themselves in the streets, while some of them will rebuild camps in more remote areas or join other groups elsewhere on the coast. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

A migrant washes himself in the only water access point in the food distribution center and of the « Afghan camp » where hundreds of migrants currently stay. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A migrant washes himself in the only water access point in the food distribution center and of the « Afghan camp » where hundreds of migrants currently stay. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

Migrants and humanitarian workers enter the food distribution center area through a fence which had been broken during the night. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants and humanitarian workers enter the food distribution center area through a fence which had been broken during the night. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

Migrants in the "Afghan camp" set up a fire to warm themselves. Tomorrow they face the prospect of being without any shelter. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants in the “Afghan camp” set up a fire to warm themselves. Tomorrow they face the prospect of being without any shelter. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

Migrants totally cover themselves in their sleeping bags after a night without sleeping, below a tourism sign for the city of Calais. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Migrants totally cover themselves in their sleeping bags after a night without sleeping, below a tourism sign for the city of Calais. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

 

Read +972’s full coverage of refugees and migrants in Israel

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required