New Refugee Centres
Two new centres to house refugees will be opened near to Calais in the North of France, French Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb has just announced.
“We do not want to repeat the bad experiences of the past and we will open two centres to accommodate and review the situations of these people,” Collomb said.
Mr Collomb made the announcement at a press conference shortly after the French Council of State ruled against the French authorities in the case of migrants exposed to “inhuman and degrading treatment” in Calais.
Last week, a Human Rights Watch report found that police conduct in and around Calais is an abuse of power, violating human rights.
There are “about 350 to 400 migrants in Calais,” said the minister. “We want to ensure that we are able to offer a situation of accommodation in the immediate vicinity,” he said.
The local prefecture will be responsible for bringing the refugees to these new centres.
As Calais is faced with a new influx of refugees headed for the UK, including many minors, the French government fears the recreation of illegal encampments like the Calais “Jungle”.
On Monday the French Council of State, the highest administrative court, approved the order of the Administrative Court of Lille, which had ordered the State to put in place measures to help the migrants, including the creation of water points and sanitary facilities.
President Emmanuel Macron had made assurances last Thursday that there would be no more street encampments in France “by the end of the year”. Before him, the Minister of the Interior had asserted that Calais should no longer be “an abscess of fixation”.
The two centres will be located in Troisvaux (Pas-de-Calais) and Bailleul (Nord). They will each have 300 places.
While we welcome this news it should be remembered that there are over a million refugees in Europe and only a small number come to Calais with the desperate hope to reach the UK. This is often because they have lost everything but have close family members here. We hope that the UK can also do more to help these people in their time of terrible need.