'Why are there so many soldiers? We're refugees': detained Ocean Viking migrants await their fate

By Pierre Isnard-Dupuy

On Friday November 11th the 230 migrants who had been on board the 'Ocean Viking' finally disembarked at Toulon on the French Mediterranean coast after a diplomatic tussle between Paris and Rome. On Sunday Mediapart joined French Parliamentarians who visited the migrants at the 'waiting zone' where they have been held since leaving the humanitarian vessel. The leftwing politicians left the site voicing doubts about whether the migrants' asylum rights are being respected. And migrant group activists say that the survivors from the ship should be freed immediately because of the hardships they have suffered and their vulnerability. Pierre Isnard-Dupuy reports.

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“I'm delighted with France's stance, I think [the survivors from Ocean Viking] are being well-treated, but now we'd like to see what happens with them administratively.” On Sunday November 13th, two days after the humanitarian group SOS Méditerranée's ship docked at Toulon in France – having been refused entry by Italy and Malta – the socialist senator Marie-Arlette Carlotti visited the “waiting zone” where the migrants who were on board are now detained. They are being held in a CCAS holiday centre at the end of the Giens Peninsula on the Mediterranean coast for a maximum of 26 days. The logistics at the centre were organised by the lay Catholic order the Order of Malta and the Civil Protection voluntary association.