In Calais, the state undertakes to provide accommodation “systematically” for immigrants

The head of the Ofii, who was sent by the government as a mediator to Calais, indicated on Tuesday that accommodation would be offered “systematically” to the exiles while the camps were dismantled. He also suggested that migrants be able to receive their belongings before these operations. These measures should come into effect “from the end of the week”. The associations denounced the “improper” measures.

This was a way out of the crisis between the state and the immigrant aid associations in Calais. On Tuesday, November 2, the government announced that it would “systematically” provide accommodation to migrants forced to leave their camps during evacuations.

“We will systematically offer accommodation, which will be mainly in the Pas-de-Calais, in Hauts-de-France, but not in Calais,” said Didier Leske, head of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (Ofii), who was dispatched to Calais. to play the role of mediator.

“Improper” measures

He emphasized that in order to fulfill its obligation, the state would have to “increase its accommodation base” by “several hundred places”.

Furthermore, Didier Lesche suggested “to give the possibility for people to recover their personal belongings before accommodation operations”. Concretely, the migrants will now be left with a period of “about 45 minutes” to collect their belongings: “There will be no evacuees by surprise,” the mediator promised, also assuring that the Ofii invasion will pass before each evacuation “for a social diagnosis (identification of vulnerable persons such as pregnant women). and patients and refer them to the appropriate centers.” He said that these proposals could enter into force as soon as “the end of the week.”

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And Ofii’s head actually suggested these same ideas last week. Local actors had denounced an “electoral” visit, while the hunger strikers estimated that Didier Leske offered “no solutions”.

At the end of a new meeting on Tuesday, union members denounced the “improper” actions, an RFI journalist on the spot reported.

And the immigrant aid associations in the region, in a statement issued after the office director’s visit, renewed their demands: “to end the daily harassment, and thus end the expulsions.”

“We, the associations and the hunger strikers, do not want people to live in conditions unworthy of the camp and continue to demand a real reception policy.” According to the activists, “the mediator did not take any steps towards the strikers” and therefore appealed to the head of state. “Mr. President of the Republic, is there no one with enough political courage to decide on a five-month respite from the daily violations of fundamental rights in our country?”

“The state cannot knowingly permit the organization of a secret departure base for England.”

Since October 11, three activists, including a 72-year-old Catholic Relief chaplain, have started a hunger strike to protest the treatment imposed on immigrants. They demand a halt to expulsions, confiscation of immigrants’ affairs, and the opening of a dialogue between the state and associations.

Camp evacuations take place almost daily in this border town with the United Kingdom.

Ofii’s general manager was sent on a “communication and mediation mission” with the strikers but also to ensure that no new “jungle” had emerged in Calais, five years after the dismantling of giant slums that housed up to 10,000 people. .

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“This fear is related to the scale of the flows: since the beginning of the year, close to 40,000 people have arrived” on the north coast, explains Didier Leske.

“The state cannot knowingly allow the organization of a secret departure base for England, while people are also risking their lives to cross the Channel,” he added.

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