Graffiti says ‘Refugees Welcome’ on a sign in Calais, France, but the industrial zone where refugees sleep is not a welcoming place. Photo Credit: The Guardian

Teargas, cold, no toilets: plight of refugees in Calais revealed

Article in The Guardian
11 August, 2017

How can this be a policy? What does it achieve? What are its long term objectives? Is there any strategic planning?

“The woods around Calais and Dunkirk have once again become home to more than 1,000 refugees and migrants living in dire conditions without access to toilets, running water, showers or shelter.

Police regularly confiscate sleeping bags, bedding and possessions, and refugees complain that CS spray is often used during early morning raids on people sleeping. Reports of police harassment of refugees have risen as officials from both towns attempt, without success, to stop refugees from settling in the area.

But some kind of new camp now looks inevitable in Calais after a court ruled that the city government must provide showers and water supplies for the rapidly rising population of asylum seekers, who are mostly teenagers from Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Many of them are travelling alone, some as young as 12…

A Human Rights Watch report published late last month, titled Like Living in Hell, documented frequent use of CS spray, routine abuse of asylum seekers and migrants and regular disruption of food distribution sessions, concluding that the behaviour appeared to be driven “by a desire to keep down migrant numbers”.

But because Calais is known to be the closest crossing point to the UK, these official attempts to make it an unattractive destination for refugees have not worked and people continue to arrive”

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