The State will create in Calais a «Sas» from “Sheltering” allowing to temporarily accommodate 300 migrants at night, before redirecting them to permanent accommodation, announced Wednesday, November 3, the government mediator charged since October 27 by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, to negotiate with three associative activists in hunger strike, protesting against the dismantling of migrant camps.
This “Night shelter will be open every day after evacuations”, explained the director general of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII), Didier Leschi. The people who will be going there each evening “Will be oriented towards long-term accommodation outside Calais” the next morning, he said. In an interview with World, he had recognized that “The action of the hunger strikers revealed an inconsistency in the policy implemented”.
This structure should make it possible to keep the promises already made by the State, which undertook on Tuesday to propose “Systematically” accommodation for migrants displaced from their makeshift camps in Calais, which means increasing the number of accommodation “Several hundred places”, mainly in Pas-de-Calais and Hauts-de-France, according to Mr. Leschi.
The mediator’s proposals are still considered insufficient by the three people – a Jesuit priest, Philippe Demeestère, and two activists – who have been on a hunger strike for twenty-four days to denounce the treatment of migrants in Calais. The police evacuate there almost daily the migrants gathered in the hope of crossing the Channel to reach the United Kingdom.
Local associations, which denounce the situation of some 1,500 migrants currently present in Calais, continue to demand a “Moratorium” evacuations and slammed the door of discussions Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, the inter-association Human Rights Observers (HRO) network described the shelters as “Forced displacement of people far from the border to accommodation in which we know from experience that people will not stay”. “By warning people twenty-four hours before each expulsion, the State’s proposal is to force them to expel themselves! “, insist these associations.
They ask “The end of daily harassment, and therefore the end of evictions” during the winter break, “Essential condition to allow people to think calmly about their project”, they say.
Fear of a draft
Opposite, the State fears that a stop of the evacuations will cause a call of air which would allow the reconstitution of the « jungle », this gigantic camp dismantled in 2016 which brought together up to 10,000 migrants in inhuman and chaotic conditions.
According to Mr. Leschi, “40,000 people” arrived on the north coast since the beginning of the year, with the hope of reaching the English coast. On Tuesday, 292 migrants were rescued in the Channel and returned to the French coast.
Since the end of 2018, illegal crossings of the Channel by migrants seeking to reach the United Kingdom have increased despite repeated warnings from the authorities, which recall the danger linked to the density of traffic, strong currents and low water temperature.
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An “accommodation lock” to accommodate migrants during the night will be created in Calais