Keyword: migrants

France backs EU plan for migrant quotas

Visiting Malta, French European affairs minister Harlem Désir said genuine asylum seekers should be relocated equally among member states.

French patrol boat saves 217 migrants off Libya

Vessel was sent on Tuesday to reinforce EU's surveillance operation after a series of migrant tragedies in which nearly 5,000 have drowned.

European Commission agrees Hollande call for summit on Med migrant crisis

The French president urged a meeting of foreign, interior ministers after drownings of about 700 EU-bound migrants off Libya this weekend.

Aboard a Mediterranean migrant patrol ship, and the ghost freighter that got away

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More than 300 migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea in a clandestine convoy from Libya to Italy were reported drowned this week when their boats overturned off Lampedusa, just days after 29 other seaborne migrants were discovered dead from hypothermia close to the Italian coast. The tragedies follow the narrow rescues in December and January of more than 1,200 Syrian migrants from two rusting ‘ghost’ freighters left abandoned by people smugglers to their fate. Earlier this month, Mediapart’s Carine Fouteau joined the Týr, an Icelandic coastguard ship patrolling the central Mediterranean as part of an operation mounted by the EU border-policing agency Frontex. She heard the harrowing experiences of the Týr’s proud crew who have already rescued 2,000 migrants in difficulty, and questioned Frontex officials about what is an increasingly confused mission. But she begins this report with the dramatic events she witnessed aboard the Týr, when a drifting, apparently crewless rusting freighter suspected of carrying hundreds of migrants in its hold was left to its fate overnight in strong seas - because no-one had sent out an SOS. 

The money-making machine behind Mediterranean people smuggling

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The discovery last week of two abandoned cargo ships crammed with clandestine migrants in the Mediterranean Sea has underlined a cynical change of tactics by people traffickers. Though buying the massive vessels costs money, the traffickers still stand to make millions from preying on the desire of refugees to flee war-torn Syria or the Horn of Africa for a better life in Europe. Mediapart has been reporting regularly on the plight of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean and has highlighted the new tactics being used by traffickers. Here Carine Fouteau looks at the background to people smuggling and describes just how traffickers exploit the needy – including wealthier middle class Syrians desperate to escape the ongoing war in their country.

Migrant fights migrant in Calais riot

French riot police were used to stop the violence, which left seven men slightly injured after migrants attacked each other with sticks and stones.

The woman who recharges Calais migrants' phones

Devout Catholic Brigitte Lips, 58, plugs in phones all day at her home so migrants at the French port can keep in touch with their families.

France backs idea of British police in Calais

Interior minister says he would welcome help from across English Channel as France struggles to cope with number of migrants in town.

France to spend €3m per year on Calais migrant centre

But plan by interior minister attacked by charities who say it will resemble the notorious Sangatte Red Cross welcome centre closed in 2002.

France and UK trade blame for Calais migrant crisis

The mayor of Calais returned criticism when she appeared before British MPs on the issue of numbers of migrants crossing to UK from the port.

The grave humanitarian crisis looming in Calais

By Haydée Sabéran
 © Reuters © Reuters

For a second week running, the desperate situation of migrants gathering in the northern French port of Calais in the hope of finding a clandestine passage to Britain has been making headlines on both sides of the Channel. This Tuesday, Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart appeared before a largely hostile British parliamentary committee on immigration and warned that the migrants were “ready to die” to reach Britain, which she criticised for focussing on greater security alone as a solution to the recent sharp rise in the numbers of those arriving in Calais from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, many of whom have fled war zones. Most, including women and children, live rough in makeshift camps in and around the town, where racist attacks against them are on the rise and where aid associations complain they can no longer cope with what one major French charity, the Secours Catholique, has warned is an imminent “humanitarian crisis of a size never known here”. Haydée Sabéran reports from Calais on the everyday human misery of the migrants, the despair of those involved in helping them, and lifts the lid on a myth, bolstered by events in the Channel port, that Britain is bearing the brunt of clandestine immigration to Europe.  

Scuffles as French far-right leader visits 'lawless' Calais

Marine Le Pen claimed the migrant crisis in the Channel port had made it 'no more than a jungle' where 'the rule of law no longer holds sway'.

The grim lives of the migrants cornered in Calais

By Mediapart & Images en bibliothèques
Extrait de « Qu'ils reposent en révolte » © Sylvain George Extrait de « Qu'ils reposent en révolte » © Sylvain George

Tensions were running high this week in the French Channel port of Calais, which since the late 1990s has become a major gathering site for migrants, essentially from Africa and central Asia, hoping to cross illegally to Britain by any available means. Riot police fired tear gas grenades during clashes with migrants who tried to storm trucks bound for Britain, and intervened to deal with fighting between armed rival migrant groups. Meanwhile, an Ethiopian woman was killed as she tried to cross a motorway beside the port, the third migrant to die on nearby roads in as many weeks. On Friday, far-right Front National party leader Marine Le Pen seized on the situation to make a high-profile visit to the port on Friday, when police struggled to keep her supporters and opponents apart. The grim reality of the daily lives of the migrants, so often ignored amid political rhetoric and cross-Channel arguments about how to improve the port’s security, is portrayed in an acclaimed and compelling documentary by French filmmaker Sylvain George, which Mediapart presents here in its entirety.

The mystery of the 'disappeared' of Gaza

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Quartier de Chajaya, Gaza, septembre 2014 © Pierre Puchot Quartier de Chajaya, Gaza, septembre 2014 © Pierre Puchot

The International Committee of the Red Cross calls it “a major problem”, while the United Nations says it has no idea of the numbers involved. The one thing that is certain is that at least hundreds of families in Gaza are still looking for relatives who have disappeared without trace following the 50-day Israeli offensive that began in July. For some, the answer may lie beneath the rubble of destroyed buildings that still litter the land. But there is also speculation that other missing Palestinians may be detained in Israel, or have met death as they fled by sea to Europe. Mediapart’s Middle East and North Africa affairs correspondent Pierre Puchot reports from Gaza on an enduring mystery that has become something of a taboo.

French police join protests near Calais - demanding more police for migrants

Officers say there are not enough of them to cope with the large number of migrants crossing the area in the hope of reaching Britain.